Clark Clifford had spent the better part of a lifetime cultivating and living off his reputation, and he had become one of the most powerful and respected men in Washington. Unfortunately for Clifford, a reputation is a fragile thing in Washington, especially when tarnished by scandal—the BCCI scandal. BCCI, otherwise known as the Bank of Credit and Commerce International, was founded in 1972 by a Pakistani named Agha Hasan Abedi. The bank catered mostly to the wealthy rulers of the Arab states in the Persian Gulf. It was, however, unwilling to be acquired and filed suit against Bert Lance, Abedi, BCCI, and a group of Arab investors for violating U.S. security laws by failing to disclose that they had been operating as a group in their attempt to gain a controlling interest in Financial General. In February 1978, Lance asked Clifford to defend them in the lawsuit.
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