Select Committee on Standards and Privileges Third Report


Letter to Mr Keith Vaz MP from Mr Mohammed A Qayyum, Joint Co-ordinator, BCCI Campaign Committee

  We refer to your letter enclosing a copy of the letter dated 29 February 2000 from Paul Gosling, journalist and reporter, addressed to Elizabeth Filkin, Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards.

  We have noted the contents of the said letter and the allegations contained therein which are based on delinquent facts.

  This Committee was established on 5 July 1991 the date that the Bank was closed. We have represented the creditors and former employees of BCCI. With respect to Mr Gosling we think we know a little more about these matters than he does.

  The decision to close the Bank was taken by the Governor of the Bank of England in consultation with the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Norman Lamont and the then Prime Minister, John Major. You and a number of MPs were actively involved to try and protect the interests of the creditors and former employees of BCCI. Total depositors were around 250,000 customers holding 1.2 million accounts.

  We feel that we should clarify the inaccuracies and the unfounded facts which have been asserted by Mr Gosling. We can say to the best of our knowledge (and we have lived with this matter for the last decade) that:

    1.  Control Securities or Control Ltd or Mr N Virani were never a shareholder or a Director of BCCI. Mr Gosling is wrong. Even if they were, which they were not, the campaign did not exist to benefit the shareholders but to make them responsible for their actions.

    2.  BCCI was tenant leaseholder for a branch at a site in Earls Court which was owned by Control and also housed its offices. This site was called Control House. It was one of many such landlords worldwide. BCCI had over 400 separate offices. This is an irreverent point as the campaign did not exist to champion landlords. We find it hard to see how there was any benefit in it.

    3.  The company (Control Securities Ltd) and the group were widely known as Control and this was how they were also referred to as within BCCI where their accounts were being handled. Either description of it would easily identify it.

    4.  The company was never a net creditor of BCCI. They therefore had no involvement in any of the various committees and events in support of the campaign. No one from Control ever contacted the Campaign Committee. There was no conflict of interest between your support for the creditors and former employees of BCCI and any support that they may or may not have given to any project that you were involved with at any previous time.

  We are appalled at this attempt to discredit you and your support for the campaign. We were always mindful of the fact that all the overseas visits you made you did so at your expense, including paying for members of the Committee's food on many occasions.

  Would you tell Mrs Filkin that we would be happy to assist her in any other research matter relating to this issue.

4 April 2000

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