BCCI's Principle Lawyers In US Indicted in Scandal

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FORMER Defense Secretary Clark Clifford, a pillar of the Democratic establishment and an adviser to presidents as far back as Truman, has been indicted in the BCCI scandal, the district attorney's office said today.

A grand jury indicted Clifford, his colleague Robert Altman, and several others, according to a statement by Gerald McKelvey, spokesman for Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau.

The statement said the indictments, and guilty pleas by other defendants in the case, were to be discussed at a news conference yesterday. Though the charges were not announced at press time, a source speaking Tuesday on condition of anonymity said a state charge of scheming to defraud was likely.

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The investigation has centered on allegations that Mr. Clifford and Altman lied to regulators in 1982 when they said the Arab-owned Bank of Credit and Commerce International had no ownership in Washington's First American Bankshares Inc.

Clifford and Altman acted as BCCI's principal lawyers in this country. They also were chairman and president, respectively, of First American Bankshares, Washington's biggest bank-holding company. BCCI, with operations in 70 countries, collapsed last year amid allegations of arms smuggling, drug money laundering, and financing of terrorists.

In another development, Sheikh Kamal Adham, a former head of Saudi intelligence and a key BCCI investor, pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor violation of New York banking law Tuesday and agreed to pay $105 million in fines, the investor's lawyer said.

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