Officials of Financial General Bankshares Inc. expect a Dutch firm to make a tender offer for the $2.2 billion Washington bank holding company, Financial General lawyers revealed in court papers filed yesterday.
The documents identify the company as Credit and Commerce American Investment, B.V.
The Dutch company was named for the first time in papers filed in U.S. District Court in the legal battle being waged by Financial General to prevent the take over.
Four Arab investors who already control more than 20 percent of the shares of Financial General agreed to make the tender offer to settle a Securities and Exchange Commission complaint accusing them of illegally seeking control of the bank without making their intentions public. Terms of the settlement allow another firm to make the tender offer in place of or for the Arabs, who hired former budget director Bert Lance to aid in their bid.
Financial General is suing the Arabs, Lance and others in an attempt to keep the tender offer from being made or to keep it from being successful. The Arabs have countersued the company's executives on behalf of all stock holders, claiming Financial General management is not acting in the best interest of the shareholders in fighting the takeover.
At stake is a chain of banks that includes Union First National of Washington, First American Bank of Virginia, American Bank of Maryland and several smaller banks in Maryland, Virginia and New York.
Financial General attorneys said in the filings they believe the Dutch firm is somehow controlled by Bank of Credit and Commerce International, (BCCI) a London bank controlled by Middle Eastern investors.
Financial General contends BCCI is actually the force behind the takeover bid and will run the Washington banking company if the takeover is successful.
The latest legal move seeks to force BCCI to give Financial General documents about relations between BCCI and Bank of America, which owns a minority interest in BCCI.
The papers will show that BCCI's operations have been criticized by Bank of America, the nation's biggest bank, for not meeting American banking practices and standards, Financial General's motion contends.
The Financial General motion says the Dutch firm, Credit and Commerce American Investment is "owned and controlled" by a Netherlands antilles corporation, Credit and Commerce American Holdings. BCCI representatives will not reveal their connection with these two companies, Financial General said.