Bruce Rappaport was involved in banking, industry, and politics on the island of Antigua.
In April 1983, Rappaport formed Swiss American Bank Ltd., later renamed Global Bank of Commerce, Ltd., and became the first licensed bank in Antigua governed by the International Business Corporations (IBC) Act of 1982 .
The company was later sued by the United States for failure to release forfeited funds from one of its account holders. The lawsuit stemmed from a plea agreement with John E. Fitzgerald, who admitted to laundering $7,000,000 through numerous shell corporations and eventually deposited the funds in Swiss American Bank. Swiss American Bank, instead of returning the money to the United States Government, paid $5 million to the government of Antigua and Barbuda and deposited $880,000 into a bank account held at the Bank of Bermuda. Lester Bird, the former Prime Minister of Antigua, later told the US government, "We can't get you the records, they were destroyed in the hurricane".
On March 1, 2006, the government of Antigua and Barbuda brought legal action against its former prime minister Lester Bird, Bruce Rappaport, and other defendants. The lawsuit contended that Swiss American Bank, Bruce Rappaport, and others misappropriated over $41,000,000. In a US Embassy cable released by Wikileaks entitled, "Former Antiguan Diplomat Expresses Views On U.S.-caricom Relations", the lawsuit, Bruce Rappaport, and others, are mentioned in the statements of Sir Ronald Sanders. The cable states,
In 1980, a Rappaport controlled company by the name of National Petroleum Ltd purchased 440,000 shares of the West Indies Oil Company (WIOC) for $6,000,000 from the country of Antigua. The deal was negotiated by the former prime minister of Antigua, Lester Bird.
On May 30, 2010, the government of Antigua and Barbuda, using a $68 million loan from the Venezuelan firm, PDVSA, repurchased all of the shares to WOIC from National Petroleum Ltd
Bruce Rappaport, Maurice Sarfati, and Yair Klein were involved in the Guns for Antigua scandal which involved the shipment of Israeli-made weapons through Antigua to the Medellin drug cartel in Colombia. The affair was exposed by the Louis Blom-Cooper Royal Commission, following the discovery that several murders in Colombia had been perpetrated with Israeli guns that had been shipped through Antigua and were ostensibly for the Royal Antigua and Barbuda Defence Force, which is equipped for free by the United States.
Rappaport provided the financing, and the land on Antigua, for the melon farm that was used to funnel the weapons from Israel to Colombia via Antigua.
On December 3, 1997 Bruce Rappaport was appointed as Antigua and Barbuda's ambassador to the country of Russia.
In a US Embassy cable released by Wikileaks entitled, "Antigua Govt Holds Trump Card Over Corrupt Opposition Leaders". Bruce Rappaport, and others, are mentioned as being involved with corruption related to a desalinization plant to be built in Antigua.
In 2006, the Government of Antigua and Barbuda (GOAB), sued many former government officials and Bruce Rappaport. The suit alleged that Bruce Rappaport embezzled $14 million via his role in re-negotiating the desalinization plant. The cable states,
In February 2009, the Government of Antigua and Barbuda announced a settlement agreement. Bruce Rappaport agreed to repay $12 million of the embezzled funds.
In 1982, Rappaport filed the required paperwork to declare his 7.5% ownership of Bank of New York.
On August 19, 1999, the Bank of New York (BoNY) admitted to co-operating with an investigation into a $10 billion money-laundering operation. Bruce Rappaport was a focus of the investigation and also his other bank, Bank of New York-InterMaritime, a Swiss bank that conducted a large amount of Russian business. In addition to Bruce Rappaport, another Bank of New York (BoNY) employee, Natasha Kagalovsky, who is married to Konstantin Kagalovsky, was a focus of investigations.
In 1999, a shareholder lawsuit was filed against the Bank of New York. In the complaint the accusations against Rappaport, and Bank of New York, included money laundering, accusations of Russian organized crime involvement, and described Rappaport as "an international financier of questionable background".
In 1987, Independent Counsel Robert McKay investigated Bruce Rappaport for activities he engaged in on behalf of CIA director William Casey. These activities included the purchasing of an Antiguan melon-farm for Israeli arms dealers who were significant customers of BCCI in Miami and placing Alfred Hartmann (BCCI employee) on the board of directors of Intermaritime Bank of Geneva and New York.
Rappaport was also the person who allegedly controlled bank accounts which received $10 million for the Contras. Swiss authorities told the Iran/Contra Committees that the $10 million had disappeared, and was found to have "mistakenly" gone to a Swiss businessman, who then returned the money after the Iran/Contra affair was discovered. Press accounts contended that the businessman was Rappaport.
During the early 1970s, General Ibnu Sutowo, signed numerous oil-tanker charter deals with Bruce Rappaport to provide oil transport for Pertamina.
In April 1977, General Ibnu Sutowo was placed under house arrest for his dealings with Rappaport. Rappaport was accused of price gouging and bringing Pertamina, and Indonesia, to bankruptcy.
During the 1980s, James McKay, an independent prosecutor, was appointed to investigate alleged financial improprieties by Edwin Meese while he was attorney general. As part of this investigation, McKay looked into Meese's involvement in a Bechtel pipeline deal in the Middle East. The pipeline was to extend from Iraq to Jordan and was negotiated by Edwin Meese, Shimon Perez, Bruce Rappaport, Robert C. McFarlane, and others.
During the investigation, Bruce Rappaport was offered immunity from prosecution as long as he did not perjure himself. Rapport later refused to attend his deposition for fear "he might not remember everything accurately".
Rappaport's alleged role was to bribe Israeli officials in the Shimon Peres government and ensure that portions of the $1 billion project were funneled to the Israeli Labor Party. Later, in 2006, Shimon Peres was investigated for an illegal $100,000 campaign contribution from Bruce Rappaport.
Bruce Rappaport contributed to the establishment of the Technion's Faculty of Medicine building (est. 1979), and founded the Technion's Rappaport Research Institute.
In Geneva, Switzerland Rappaport gave millions of dollars to Jewish and non-Jewish organizations, including orphanages, day care centers, research institutes and hospitals in the United States, Israel and elsewhere. His wife, Ruth Rappaport, was the co-President of the Geneva branch of the Women's International Zionist Organization.