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Afghan Central Bank Chief flees to U.S.

Tuesday 28 June 2011

The governor of the Central Bank of Afghanistan, Abdul Qadir Fitrat, has fled to the US and resigned.

He claims that his life was in danger. The background to the unexpected move is a corruption scandal involving leading figures in Afghan politics, which the governor publicly denounced.

“Fitrat left the country after the attorney general’s office sent him a letter asking him to answer questions about his handling of the Kabul Bank scandal,” said Siamak Herawy, a spokesman for President Hamid Karzai.

The government took over Kabul Bank in September as thousands of depositors rushed to withdraw their money after learning that the bank’s owners had lost funds that a U.S. government report said may total $850 million, or 94% of its loans. Some lending paid for luxury homes in Dubai for bank shareholders, including Mahmoud Karzai, the president’s brother, the Washington Post cited him as saying.

In the same time, Mahmood Karzai, the Kabul Bank chief resigned. Mahmood Karzai is the brother of Afghan President Hamid Karzai and once owned a 7% stake in the Kabul Bank.

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