Depositors panic over banking crisis in Afghanistan

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The Kabul Bank, one of the largest private financial institutions born after the fall of the Taliban, sits at the very center of the Afghan political and economic elite. One of Mr. Karzai’s brothers, Mahmoud, is a majority shareholder, as is Haseen Fahim, the brother of the Afghan first vice president. The bank loaned Mr. Fahim, a prominent businessman, up to $ 100 million, officials said.

The bank helped fund President Karzai’s re-election campaign last year, giving him up to $ 14 million, according to a former senior Afghan official. Mr. Frozi denied this.

Mr Karzai chose the bank to administer much of the government’s payroll, which Mr Frozi described as one of the bank’s most lucrative areas of business.

In the interview, Mr Frozi said he was mystified by the sudden loss of confidence in his bank. He admitted that many of the bank’s investments lost money, but said none of them were unrecoverable. The biggest mistake, he said, was the decision of his partner, Mr Farnood, to buy $ 160 million worth of villas and office buildings in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, at most. height of the real estate bubble in 2007.

The following year, the market collapsed. Many villas are occupied by prominent Afghans, such as former vice-president Ahmed Zia Massoud and Mahmoud Karzai.

“No one could have predicted the crisis,” Frozi said.

Kabul Bank also loaned Haseen Fahim $ 100 million. His brother Muhammad Fahim, the first vice president of Afghanistan, has called bank officials from Germany several times this week to try to save as much as he can of his family’s money, said two Afghans close to the bank.

The unrest at Kabul Bank, which unites the Fahim and Karzai families, could strain the alliance between President Karzai and Vice President Fahim. Mr. Fahim, an ethnic Tajik who fought the Taliban, provides crucial political support to Mr. Karzai’s government.


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