Afghan banker in US faces charges

By Deb Riechmann
Associated Press / June 29, 2011

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KABUL — The former head of the Afghan central bank will be prosecuted for his alleged role in the failure of the nation’s largest private lender, the Afghan attorney general’s office said yesterday.

Abdul Qadir Fitrat, who has fled to the United States, and other officials at the central bank face allegations of failing to act on warnings about widespread corruption at Kabul Bank, which nearly collapsed last year because of mismanagement and questionable lending practices, said Deputy Attorney General Rahmatullah Nazari.

An arrest warrant for Fitrat has been sent to Interpol and the US Embassy in Kabul to return him to Afghanistan for questioning, he said.

Fitrat announced his resignation Monday after fleeing to the United States and receiving threats to his life, he said. He contends that he and other bank officials charged with overseeing the nation’s financial system are being made scapegoats while the Afghan government refuses to charge politically connected individuals involved in making or receiving hundreds of millions of dollars in questionable loans.

“Since I exposed the fraudulent practices on April 27 in Parliament I have received information about threats on my life,’’ Fitrat told the Associated Press in a phone interview Monday from a hotel in Northern Virginia.

“To date, there is no information of any credible plan to try and prosecute these suspects for the crimes they have allegedly committed,’’ he said.

Fitrat added that he has permanent resident status in the United States and would not be returning to Afghanistan.

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