Scandal Tying an Octopus in Knots

A tenacious, corrupt empire meets its match when a global phalanx of regulators seizes the offices of B.C.C.I.

The crackdown was as swift and implacable as a military operation. Shortly after noon last Friday, British authorities strode into the steel-and-glass London headquarters of the Bank of Credit & Commerce International, a notorious cash conduit for drug smugglers, arms dealers and rapacious tyrants. Seizing control of the office, the regulators told bank employees to stop working and go home. The move coincided with similar sweeps of B.C.C.I. operations in Luxembourg, the Cayman Islands, France, Spain, Canada, Switzerland, the Netherlands and the U.S., where regulators shut the bank's loan offices in New York City and Los Angeles. The combined actions placed...

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