Afghanistan’s Top Banker Flees Nation, Resigns

Posted June 27th, 2011 at 8:30 pm (UTC-5)
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Afghanistan's top banker says he has resigned his post and fled the country because he feared for his life following his role in investigating a corruption scandal involving the country's biggest lender, Kabul Bank.

In an interview Monday outside Washington, Central Bank Governor Abdul Qadir Fitrat said he fled the country because his life was “completely in danger.” He said this was particularly true after he exposed some people responsible for the crisis at Kabul Bank to the parliament in April.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai's spokesman, Waheed Omar, said late Monday Fitrat did not notify authorities of his resignation and was possibly responsible for the scandal that led to Kabul Bank's failure.

Kabul Bank lost more than $900 million in funds and nearly collapsed last year due to alleged mismanagement, cronyism and questionable lending.

Fitrat said in April authorities have recouped only $47 million in loan money and that the government was overseeing efforts to get bank executives, shareholders and others who received illicit loans to repay the money.

Kabul Bank handles the salaries of Afghan soldiers, police and teachers.

The financial fiasco has caused some international donors to question the stability of Afghanistan's financial system, just as the country is trying to take on more responsibility for security and development.