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UNITED STATES AMERICA v. BCCI HOLDINGS (LUXEMBOURG) v. BCCI HOLDINGS (LUXEMBOURG) </h1> <p class="docCourt"> </p> <p> February 14, 1995 </p> <p class="case-parties"> <b>UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE<br><br>v.<br><br>BCCI HOLDINGS (LUXEMBOURG), S.A., BANK OF CREDIT AND COMMERCE INTERNATIONAL, S.A., BANK OF CREDIT AND COMMERCE INTERNATIONAL (OVERSEAS) LIMITED, AND INTERNATIONAL CREDIT AND INVESTMENT COMPANY (OVERSEAS) LIMITED, DEFENDANTS-APPELLEES<br><br>SHRICHAND CHAWLA, LEO D. CURRAN, WILLY HERMANS, AND RED CIRCLE INVESTMENT, LTD., JALEH KHORASSANCHY, AMIT PANDYA, SOHA, INC., IDRISS DEVCO, INC., AND S&L GENTRADE, INC., CLAIMANT-APPELLANTS<br><br>UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE<br><br>v.<br><br>BCCI HOLDINGS (LUXEMBOURG), S.A., BANK OF CREDIT AND COMMERCE INTERNATIONAL, S.A., BANK OF CREDIT AND COMMERCE INTERNATIONAL (OVERSEAS) LIMITED, AND INTERNATIONAL CREDIT AND INVESTMENT COMPANY (OVERSEAS) LIMITED, DEFENDANTS-APPELLEES<br><br>RAYMOND DAVIES, AS CONSERVATOR FOR THE BRANCH IN SIERRA LEONE OF BANK OF CREDIT AND COMMERCE INTERNATIONAL (OVERSEAS) LIMITED, CLAIMANT-APPELLANT</b><br><br> </p> <div class="caseCopy"> <div class="facLeaderBoard"> <script type="text/javascript"><!-- google_ad_client = "ca-pub-1233285632737842"; /* FACLeaderBoard */ google_ad_slot = "8524463142"; google_ad_width = 728; google_ad_height = 90; //--> </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://pagead2.googlesyndication.com/pagead/show_ads.js"> </script> </div class="facLeaderBoard"> <div class="numbered-paragraph"><p><br> Appeal from the United States District Court for the District of Columbia (91cv0655)</p></div> <div class="numbered-paragraph"><p> Before: Silberman, Henderson, and Randolph, Circuit Judges.</p></div> <div class="numbered-paragraph"><p> Silberman, Circuit Judge</p></div> <div class="numbered-paragraph"><p> FOR PUBLICATION</p></div> <div class="numbered-paragraph"><p> FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA CIRCUIT</p></div> <div class="numbered-paragraph"><p> Argued November 23, 1994</p></div> <div class="numbered-paragraph"><p> Opinion for the Court filed by Circuit Judge Silberman.</p></div> <div class="numbered-paragraph"><p> Appellants petitioned the district court to amend various court orders forfeiting assets of the Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI) pursuant to the Racketeering and Corrupt Organizations Act, 18 U.S.C. §§ 1961-1968 (1988 & Supp. V 1993). The petitions were dismissed. We affirm on the grounds that appellants' claims of entitlement to the funds in question are not cognizable under the forfeiture provisions of the RICO Act.</p></div> <div class="numbered-paragraph"><p> I.</p></div> <div class="facAdFloatLeft"> <script type="text/javascript"><!-- google_ad_client = "ca-pub-1233285632737842"; /* FACContentLeftSkyscraperWide */ google_ad_slot = "1266897617"; google_ad_width = 160; google_ad_height = 600; //--> </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://pagead2.googlesyndication.com/pagead/show_ads.js"></script> </div class="facLeaderBoard"> <div class="numbered-paragraph"><p> In July, 1991, bank regulators in several countries jointly seized and shut down the operations of the four principal financial institutions that collectively made up the enterprise known as BCCI. <a href="#D*fn1" name="S*fn1">*fn1</a> These measures, prompted by evidence of insolvency and extensive dealings in criminal affairs, were followed by the appointment of fiduciaries for BCCI by courts in Luxembourg and the Cayman Islands, the jurisdictions in which the principal entities were incorporated. A worldwide effort was then begun to consolidate all BCCI assets wherever located for a general global distribution to creditors and depositors.</p></div> <div class="numbered-paragraph"><p> BCCI's collapse prompted a flurry of civil and criminal investigations by various state and federal agencies in the United States, and criminal charges were brought against BCCI in several jurisdictions.</p></div> <div class="numbered-paragraph"><p> Negotiations between law-enforcement officials and the court-appointed BCCI fiduciaries ultimately led to a comprehensive plea agreement filed with the federal district court in the District of Columbia. The agreement required BCCI to plead guilty to several state and federal criminal and civil charges, including RICO violations, and to forfeit to the Justice Department all BCCI assets located in the United States. It also provided, pursuant to the RICO statute, that half of all sums recovered by the government would be surrendered to the global liquidation fund; the other half was to be reserved for the Attorney General's discretionary allocation among several enumerated purposes, which included offsetting losses to "the Bank Insurance Fund of the FDIC and United States taxpayers" resulting from BCCI's collapse and making further contributions to the global liquidation fund. The plea agreement, with its forfeiture provision, was approved by supervising courts in Luxembourg and the Cayman Islands.</p></div> <div class="numbered-paragraph"><p> The agreement was opposed, however, by various third parties with claims against BCCI, who saw that a total forfeiture of BCCI's U.S. assets would undermine their independent efforts at recovery. Dissatisfied with the prospect of a heavily discounted distribution from the global liquidation fund, these parties sought to block the plea agreement. In bankruptcy proceedings in New York, putative tort creditors unsuccessfully tried to have the district court in D.C. enjoined from accepting the agreement. See In re Smouha, 136 B.R. 921, 928 (S.D.N.Y.), appeal dismissed, <a>979 F.2d 845</a> (2d Cir. 1992). Still other parties contested the agreement directly before the district court. These claims too were rejected, however, and the district court formally accepted the plea agreement in January, 1992.</p></div> <div class="numbered-paragraph"><p> Shortly thereafter, the district court issued the first of three orders forfeiting all identified BCCI property located within the United States. The two later orders were issued in response to the discovery of additional assets. The forfeited amount - in aggregate approximately $552 million - largely came from bank accounts maintained at various U.S. banks in the names of specific overseas branches of BCCI. Following the district court's issuance of the three orders, numerous third parties, appellants among them, filed petitions claiming legal interests in the BCCI assets forfeited to the government.</p></div> <div class="numbered-paragraph"> <p> Under the RICO Act, third parties are given an opportunity to challenge a forfeiture order if they can assert that they have a "legal interest in property which has been ordered forfeited." 18 U.S.C. ยง 1963(l )(2). A party who files a petition alleging a "legal interest" that, if established, would compel amendment of the forfeiture is then entitled to a ...</p> </div> </div> </div> <div id="caseToolTip" class="caseToolTip" style="display: none;"> <div class="toolTipHead"> </div> <div class="toolTipContent"> <p> Our website includes the first part of the main text of the court's opinion. To read the entire case, you must purchase the decision for download. 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