Federal officials arrested former Riggs Bank Vice President Simon P. Kareri and his wife yesterday afternoon, according to sources familiar with the case and are the only people to be arrested in connection with an 18-month investigation into Riggs’s international private-client and embassy banking business.
Riggs Bank will pay a $16 million fine (1.3 billion shillings) to avoid being prosecuted for failing to monitor suspicious financial transactions. The settlement will enable the Bank to complete a merger with PNF financial services, but will also sacrifice Kenyan banker Simon Kareri in the process. “Riggs will continue to cooperate with investigators as they pursue some former executives, and the agreement allows federal prosecutors to bring separate criminal charges against them.” The agreement will include descriptions of several transactions involving Equatorial Guinea (Kareri’s portfolio) and officials of that West African country, including its president, a dictator accused by human rights advocates of pocketing much of that nation’s $500 million a year in oil revenue, sources said.
The guilty plea is a rare one for a commercial bank. In recent cases of criminal settlements with the Department of Justice, banks have agreed to what is known as a deferred prosecution. That means the bank pays a fine but does not technically plead guilty — agreeing instead to certain facts that could result in a prosecution in a period of one or more years if the bank fails to make good on its commitments to clean up its act.
Following in the successful steps of Equity Bank, Family Finance Building Society announced plans to convert into a bank. They have a customer base of 60,000 and 12 branches, and will become the third microfinance institution after Equity and K-Rep to become a full commercial bank.
The European Investment Bank will open a regional representation office in Nairobi by April 2005. It will be third such office on the continent, after Senegal and South Africa, and will serve East and & Central Africa – giving potential investors a point of contact and advice on EIB operations and financing availability within the region.
Standard Chartered Bank has raised its base-lending rate to 13.75%
In a change of tactics, to increase pressure on former Riggs Bank vice president Simon P. Kareri, the U.S. attorney halted efforts to seize his money and land, an indication the government is preparing criminal charges against him.
Instead of going after the owners, or the top executives of Riggs Bank, prosecutors are targeting Kenyan Banker Simon Kareri of Washington DC,
After 9/11, it was discovered that some money that the terrorists received had come from the household of the Saudi Ambassador. Subsequent investigations revealed that the President of Equatorial Guinea had been the bank’s main customer for many years and had moved billions of the country’s petro-dollars through the Bank with Mr. Kareri as his personal banker. Since Saudi Arabia are America’s friends, diplomats have immunity, and Riggs Bank is revered in Washington, it seems only that managers like Mr. Kareri (who was a ‘lowly’ VP) will be left out to hang. He has not been charged with any crime, and yet they want to seize his property.