3BCCI Has a Secret Private Black Ops Force
The Bank of Credit and Commerce International was established in 1972 and soon became one of the largest private financial institutions in the world, with deposits of over $20 billion and clients like the United Arab Emirates government. At its peak, it had 400 branches in 72 countries around the world. But as anybody who's broken a controller in the Lost Woods can tell you, just because something has a lot of branches, that doesn't mean you can trust it.
Unfortunately, "up, left, down, left" seldom works in international finance.
Banks are like vomit: They're pretty easy to take care of when contained in one place, but once you spread them over a wide enough area, everyone just pretends they can't see the mess, rather than risk having to clean it up.
We, uh ... look, nobody said we were good roommates.
Back to the banks. Being no one's responsibility gave BCCI free rein to embark on a massive crime spree that would make Grand Theft Auto proud: laundering money for Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega, brokering illegal nuclear weapons sales, selling top-secret American technology to Iraq, running one of the largest Ponzi schemes in history, and doing the financial dirty work for virtually every major terrorist group in the world.
Plus the customer service line is, like, a 45-minute wait. We just need to order checks, you monsters!
They stopped just shy of spawning a tank and ramping it into a prostitute. BCCI even started their own private enforcement squad called the Black Network (Cobra Commander would be so proud) to take care of all the extortion, kidnapping, and murder that is apparently such a big part of tracking deposited money. When suspicious U.S. regulators refused to grant them a banking license (our banks usually don't have elite, shadowy fighting forces -- it really hikes up the insurance rates), BCCI just shrugged and employed some front companies and fraudulent loans to circumvent the law, and got right back to evilin' up the place.
"This ought to fool that crafty Federal Reserve."
BCCI's massive network of influence kept them consistently just a few steps ahead of the law. In the end, it took 62 countries conducting seven simultaneous raids to finally bring them down and 13 years to sort out where the money was. Even now, no one fully understands everything BCCI was up to, but we would be shocked -- shocked -- if it didn't involve some kind of laser and a moon base.
2Castle Bank Stole John Fogerty's Mansion Money
Castle Bank & Trust just oozed class and legitimacy. Not only did they attract high-profile celebrity clients like Creedence Clearwater Revival, Hugh Hefner, and the Hyatt chain of hotels, but they were centrally located in the freaking Bahamas. Would a gargantuan and malevolent organization have access to such bitchin' beaches? We ask you -- do these Mai Tais taste evil?
It's hard to be sinister in a straw hat.
In the early 1970s, someone at the IRS realized that Hyatt hadn't paid any taxes since they opened their account at Castle Bank. This is generally frowned upon in polite society, as Mssrs. Hammer and Nelson can testify. So the IRS hired a grizzled private investigator named Norman Casper to look into it, because if there's one lesson we've learned in this article, it's that accounting is WAY more exciting than we've all been led to believe. Over the next few months, Casper distracted his targets with beautiful women while he photographed their secret files and gathered intelligence. Using the old "squick and click" method, Casper discovered that not only was the bank acting as an illegal tax haven for clients like former President Nixon, it was also laundering money for the friggin' mob.
Ron Gallela / WireImage / Getty
This might not have been the ideal spokesman in 1977.
Then, out of nowhere, the CIA stepped in and stopped the investigation.
Turns out the CIA had used Castle Bank & Trust to funnel money to anti-Castro groups (and anyone else with a big enough haterection for the communists). No one was ever prosecuted, but the bank collapsed, and all of their clients (including CCR) lost their deposits. And that's why Creedence Clearwater Revisited has to rock your shitty county fair to this very day.