Afghan bank scandal investigator flees


This video is called The Kabul bank crisis.

From the BBC:

27 June 2011 Last updated at 23:02 GMT

Afghan central bank governor Abdul Qadeer Fitrat quits

The governor of Afghanistan‘s central bank, Abdul Qadeer Fitrat, has resigned, saying he feels his life is in danger after investigating fraud.

He said the government had interfered in his efforts to pursue those responsible for massive corruption at the privately-owned Kabul Bank.

Waheed Omar, a spokesman for President Hamid Karzai, said Mr Fitrat’s resignation amounted to treason.

He added that Mr Fitrat was himself under investigation.

The embezzlement at Kabul Bank almost led to its collapse last year.

Investigators say that the bank – bailed out in September – made hundreds of millions of dollars of inappropriate loans.

President Karzai has previously pledged to fully investigate those involved in the crisis.

‘High profile figures’

Mr Fitrat – who has left Afghanistan – said he had expected the probe would “help bring a closure” to the Kabul Bank incident, but instead it had “brought more danger and it brought more conspiracy against me and against my life”.

“My life was completely in danger and this was particularly true after I spoke to the parliament and exposed some people who are responsible for the crisis of Kabul Bank,” he said, speaking from the United States.

Two months ago, Mr Fitrat publicly named in parliament high-profile figures who were allegedly involved.

Some of President Karzai’s relatives, including his brother, Mahmoud Karzai, are among those named in connection with the scandal.

From ABC in Australia:

BARBARA MILLER: The fall of the Kabul Bank was spectacular. It was brought about by inappropriate loans of hundreds of millions of dollars to well-connected individuals.

Professor William Maley is director of the Asia Pacific College of Diplomacy at the Australian National University.

WILLIAM MALEY: Some I suspect had little intention of repaying loans, some people borrowed money in order to invest in the Dubai property market and then found themselves caught when the value of property in Dubai collapsed as part of the global financial crisis.

And some were simply well connected. A brother of the president was involved, a brother of the vice president was involved and in effect, the Kabul Bank seems to have distributed money to some of its favourite shareholders as if it was the personal property of the bank’s management rather than the contribution of the savings of large numbers of small people.

Afghan banker: I have evidence of death plot: here.

Majority of victims of forced labor, sexual exploitation & forced drug smuggling are children in AFGHANISTAN: here.

The proposal that the Obama administration model its policy in Afghanistan on Nixon’s strategy in Vietnam is a prescription for unspeakable new war crimes: here.

Jim Hightower, Truthout: “So why have two presidents and a decade of Congress dumped so many lives and so much money into a country that poses no threat to us? Afghanistan is an impoverished, anarchic, largely illiterate land that’s split into ancient tribal factions and innumerable fiefdoms controlled by rival warlords. They have no desire or ability to attack us, some 8,000 miles away. The only reason we’re given for being in Afghanistan is that we must keep the al-Qaeda terrorists network from establishing bases there”: here.

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  7. U.N. says more accountability needed on Afghanistan’s Kabulbank scandal

    Michelle Nichols, Reuters

    6:53 p.m. EDT, June 13, 2013

    UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – More people must be held accountable for the 2010 collapse of Afghanistan’s Kabulbank and robust action on asset recovery and financial regulation is essential to ease foreign donor worries and ensure continued aid, the United Nations said on Thursday.

    An Afghan court sentenced 20 men in March, including the bank’s founder and chief executive, to between four and five years in jail after $935 million was stolen from what was then the country’s biggest bank.

    In a report to the U.N. Security Council, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon described those sentences as “relatively light” and said the convictions “must not signal the end of accountability in this scandal.”

    The collapse of Kabulbank triggered a financial crisis, civil disorder and a run on deposits, worrying foreign donors and embarrassing the U.S. and Afghan governments, which had touted the bank’s credentials as a modern lender integral to developing a tiny economy crippled by war and mismanagement.

    The government was force to bail out Kabulbank, which was later relaunched as the state-run New Kabul Bank.

    “Robust and ongoing action, particularly asset recovery and sound financial regulation, are essential,” the U.N. report said. “Demonstration of commitment to sound institutional and financial fundamentals will be critical to ensuring sustained international assistance.”

    The court case was viewed as a crucial barometer of Afghanistan’s commitment to stabilizing the economy, less than two years before the withdrawal of most foreign troops that have been in the country since 2001.

    Brothers of President Hamid Karzai and his first vice president, Mohammad Qasim Fahim, who were both Kabulbank shareholders, were spared jail sentences after a presidential decree last year granted immunity to those who returned funds.

    “Corruption and the illicit economy – including a rise in poppy cultivation for the third year running – are chronic and debilitating to inclusive growth and, ultimately, donor interest,” the U.N. report said.

    Opium cultivation in Afghanistan is at a higher level than during Taliban rule despite efforts by the government and international forces to combat the trade, the United Nations said last month in the Afghanistan Opium Risk Assessment 2013.

    High prices for opium, from which heroin is made, are encouraging farmers to grow poppies, it said.

    U.S.-backed Afghan forces toppled the Taliban in late 2001 for refusing to hand over al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden after the September 11, 2001, attacks on the United States.

    (Editing by Lisa Shumaker)

    Copyright © 2013, Reuters

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