FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                   CRM
WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 8, 1995                                  (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
     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.