FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 8, 1995

CRM (202) 616-2771 TDD (202) 514-1888

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The Department of Justice announced today that U.S. District Judge Joyce Hens Green has issued a restraining order in the U.S. District Court in Washington against the assets of Ghaith R. Pharaon, a Saudi Arabian businessman who was previously a shareholder in the Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI) Group. The order restrains assets in the United States and seeks repatriation of assets held in foreign countries up to $102.5 million and in excess of amounts already restrained in an action previously brought by the Federal Reserve Board against Pharaon. Pharaon, who was originally indicted in Washington, D.C. on BCCI-related charges in 1991, currently faces criminal charges brought under a 1993 revised indictment. The revised indictment, in Washington, D.C., charges that Pharaon engaged in a racketeering conspiracy with Agha Hasan Abedi, the founder of BCCI, Swaleh Naqvi, the former president of BCCI, and others. The revised indictment also charges that Pharaon and his conspirators deceived U.S. regulatory authorities and illegally acquired and maintained control and influence over Credit and Commerce American Holdings (bank holding company for the former First American Bank, Washington, D.C.), the National Bank of Georgia, Atlanta, Georgia, and Independence Bank, Encino, California. The revised indictment also seeks forfeiture of all proceeds of the racketeering activity. Pharaon, who is presently a fugitive, also faces federal criminal charges elsewhere in this country. He was indicted by a federal grand jury in Atlanta that investigated BCCI's acquisition of the National Bank of Georgia. In addition, Pharaon is charged in Miami, Florida, as a co-conspirator with David Paul, former Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of Centrust Bank, in allegations relating to securities trading at Centrust. Swaleh Naqvi, a co-conspirator in the Washington, D.C. case, pled guilty to all charges in the revised indictment and, on October 19, 1994, was sentenced to serve approximately 11 years in prison (less prior time served in official detention in Abu Dhabi) and was ordered to pay restitution of over $255 million to the U.S. Treasury. Naqvi is currently a cooperating witness for the federal government. David Paul, a co-conspirator of Pharaon's in the Miami case, was convicted and, in November of 1994, was sentenced to serve 11 years in prison and ordered to pay restitution of $65 million and a fine of $5 million. The Washington, D.C., case is being handled by Gerald M. Stern, Special Counsel for Financial Institution Fraud and Dwight Bostwick, Deputy Special Counsel for Financial Institution Fraud. He received assistance in obtaining the restraining order from Pamela Dempsey, Deputy Chief of the Asset Forfeiture Office; Brandy Gardes, Trial Attorney of the Fraud Section; the Federal Bureau of Investigation; and other attorneys within the Asset Forfeiture Office. #### 95-076