Agha Hasan Abedi
Agha Hasan Abedi was a banker who flourished in Pakistan. He founded the Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI) in 1972 with the support of the Sheikhs from United Arab Emirate. BCCI had assets of $2.2bn and 400 branches in 72 countries. The bank, with its Head Office nominally in Luxembourg was effectively run from London where it had 45 branches. It was the seventh largest private bank in the world at the time of its glory.
Abedi entered Habib Bank in late 1940s, and shot through the ranks because of his talent for spotting rich clients. Later on he joined a new bank in Pakistan, the United Bank Limited (UBL) noted for its progressive methods and its drive for constant expansion. With the threat of nationalisation hanging over UBL Abedi's nose for wealth took him to the Gulf and in late 1960s he courted Sheikh Zayed, the ruler of Abu Dhabi, and owner of recently discovered oil reserve. Thus with an initial capital of $2m Abedi promoted BCCI to the world at large which soon prospered on the back of oil boom of the early 1970s. He inspired his colleagues with visions of a limitless banking empire. His unerring instinct for wealth took him to Africa, Asia, and Latin and South America and of course Europe.
Abedi resigned as the President of BCCI in 1990 when a scandal broke out in 1989 and his health started to deteriorate. The BCCI collapsed in July 1991 with liabilities estimated at close to $20bn. The liquidators took 21 years and finally the process of legal formalities closed in May 2012. The liquidators recovered $8.5bn to pay about 70,000 claims from the creditors. The costs of the liquidation including legal and professional fees ($656m) amassed $1.7bn and the creditors told 90 per cent of losses recovered.
Agha Hasan Abedi was born in Lucknow, India, and migrated to Pakistan after the partition of India, in 1947. His extraordinary career took him to the pinnacle of success and yet he was a humble man whose lectures to the bank's annual conference were rich in mysticism. Abedi befriended with rich and famous and was a great philanthropologist who spent millions of dollars on hospital, schools, research grants, et cetera.
Agha Hasan Abedi who was revered as a man with a quixotic mission to make the profits of banking work for the world's poor and who underwent a heart transplant in 1988 died of a heart attack in Karachi, Pakistan.
Compiled by:M. Nauman Khan / Ghulam Mohiuddin