Afghanistan arrests two bosses of scandal-hit bank
Last Updated: Friday, July 01, 2011, 23:11
Kabul: Afghan authorities have arrested two former executives of Kabul Bank in connection with a scandal at the troubled country's biggest private lender.

Sherkhan Farnood and Khalilullah Ferozi, the bank's former chairman and chief executive, had initially been held under a loose form of house arrest in Kabul but had now been taken into detention.

"We detained them and transferred them to the detention centre of Kabul province," Afghanistan's deputy attorney general Rahmatullah Nazari told local television.

Wednesday's move followed the flight of Afghanistan's central bank governor Abdul Qadir Fitrat to the United States, Nazari added, without giving details.

Fitrat said he fled abroad this week in fear of his life but some Afghan officials have claimed the move was linked by a possible investigation into his role in the Kabul Bank case by the attorney general.

Farnood, an international poker player who founded the bank in 2004, and Ferozi lost their jobs last year over nearly a billion dollars of off-the-books loans to executives, many of them with links to President Hamid Karzai's government.

The scandal has led to hundreds of millions of dollars of international aid to Afghanistan being withheld this year.

This is because of the current lack of an International Monetary Fund (IMF) assistance programme to Afghanistan -- effectively a rubber stamp for foreign aid donors.

The IMF wants Karzai's government to take steps to ensure a similar scandal does not happen again before agreeing a new programme. But its demands have caused serious tensions with Kabul.

Bureau Report

First Published: Friday, July 01, 2011, 23:11

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