Six former officials of the Bank of Credit and Commerce International and a reputed cocaine kingpin have been indicted on charges of conspiring to launder millions in drug profits, federal prosecutors announced Thursday.

The indictment was unsealed only hours after one of the defendants, former BCCI treasurer Seyed Ziauddin Ali Akbar, was arrested in France, and a congressional report blasted prosecutors for failing to stop the bank sooner. "We have absolutely nothing to be ashamed of and everything to be proud of in this case," said U.S. Attorney Robert W. Genzman.

He noted that his office last year obtained the conviction of two BCCI divisions and five officers.

"Those results led to the present downward spiral of the bank," he said. "This indictment today is just another step, an important step in a continuing process."

The sealed indictment issued Aug. 23 charges Akbar and five other BCCI officers, along with reputed Medellin cartel kingpin Gerardo "Don Chepe" Moncada, with conspiracy to use BCCI as a racketeering enterprise to launder $14 million.

The indictment said BCCI was a racketeering enterprise.

Five other reputed Colombian cartel members also were named in the indictment.

Genzman said Akbar is the only defendant in custody but added it may take up to two years to extradite him.

The indictment arose directly from the 1990 trial of five BCCI officers who were convicted on money-laundering charges and sentenced to terms of up to 12 years in prison, Genzman said.

The congressional report that was released Thursday by the House Judiciary subcommittee on crime and criminal justice said that U.S. officials knew about BCCI's activities as far back as 1983 but overlooked a pattern of misconduct.

"The government simply overlooked the repeated run-ins that it had with BCCI, its officials, customers and accounts," it says. "On at least two occasions, high-ranking officials squelched actions recommended by rank-and-file investigators that might have transformed the government's isolated brushes with BCCI in the United States into a full-scale investigation of a criminal enterprise of international proportions."

For example, the report says, high-ranking Internal Revenue Service officials refused on three separate occasions in 1986 to begin an undercover probe of BCCI at the request of a Florida IRS agent who had information from a former BCCI employee. The IRS officials were not named.

The IRS has identified 13 separate matters in its files involving Luxembourg-based BCCI, "yet no one at the agency appeared to have noticed the pattern," according to the report.

In another case, an IRS agent in Tampa, Fla., offered to direct a senior Federal Reserve official in Washington to former BCCI officials who could testify about BCCI's secret ownership of First American Bankshares Inc. The report says the Fed official, William A. Ryback, "showed little interest" in the offer in December 1988.