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TREASURY CONTINUES FIGHT TO KEEP BCCI FILES SECRET

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Treasury officials are to try to convince the high court that documents detailing the collapse of the BCCI bank sho...
Treasury officials are to try to convince the high court that documents detailing the collapse of the BCCI bank should remain secret, reported the Sunday Express (Financial p3).

Government representatives will argue at a special hearing early in October that certain files should remain confidential. They include transcripts of interviews with former prime minister John Major and Bank of England Governor Eddie George. They would give an insight into exactly who knew what about the bank's financial plight in 1991.

Sources suggest the treasury's legal team may claim public interest immunity as a reason for keeping the papers away from the public. A Treasury spokesman said:'We would want to take a proper look at the judgment before making any decisions.'

BCCI, the Bank of Credit and Commerce International, became the world's largest banking fraud when it collapsed in 1991 with£6.4bn debts.

Earlier this month it was learned that government officials had lost a legal fight to keep the documents under wraps. The court of appeal rejected their claim that a previous high court ruling, which demanded the papers be handed over, should be overturned, but Mr Justice Tomlinson will allow them to argue the case on individual papers in October and at a second hearing in November.

Creditors - including many local authorities - hope the files will be useful in their civil action against the Bank of England, due for hearing in April.

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