Magazine article American Banker

Von Raab Blames Treasury for BCCI; Ex-Customs Chief Says Officials Ignored His Warnings

Magazine article American Banker

Von Raab Blames Treasury for BCCI; Ex-Customs Chief Says Officials Ignored His Warnings

Article excerpt

Van Raab Blames Treasury for BCCI

Ex-Customs Chief Says Officials Ignored His Warnings

William von Raab, the former commissioner of the U.S. Customs Service, blames the federal bureaucracy, especially the Department of the Treasury, for allowing the the Bank of Credit and Commerce International scandal to occur.

He claims that he spotted the problem long before anyone else did, but was ignored. In fact, he now claims, he resigned as commissioner of Customs in 1989 because he thought Treasury and other agencies had brushed aside his concerns about BCCI.

Mr. von Raab now works in Washington as an attorney. A Yale graduate, he received a law degree from the University of Virginia in 1966. He joined Customs in 1981.

Last week he spoke to the National Press Club. The Washington bureau's Bill Atkinson was among those asking him questions.

American Banker: Are we open to other scandals like BCCI? William von Raab: Yes, we are, with some reservations. There is no mechanism to prevent this kind of thing from happening again. I mean, a lot of the sleeping types - the Federal Reserve and other people - are now awake. But they would respond in a very wooden and unsophisticated way, because there is no mechanism to pull this [an international investigation] together.

AB: Who's to blame for BCCI? WvR: I lay the blame largely at the feet of the Treasury Department, because it is the banking-policy executive branch group. …

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