The head of Afghanistan's central bank showed prescience when he quit his job and took up permanent residence here in the United States yesterday, as the Afghan government announced today it had issued an arrest warrant for him on charges of massive fraud at the private Kabul Bank. As The New York Times tells it, the banker, Abdul Qadeer Fitrat, had been "under near constant criticism and the threat of legal action from the attorney general, who is appointed by President Hamid Karzai, since he began to speak out publicly about the fraud at the Kabul Bank, the nation’s largest private bank." Now he's been officially accused of dishonesty there. The Kabul Bank scandal saw politically connected shareholders, including a brother of Karzai, take "more than $900 million in loans, many of them interest free with no repayment plans."
With Fitrat's resignation and permanent relocation to the United States, where he has legal residency already, the extent of the scandal within the Kabul Bank may come out into the open. As head of the central bank, Fitrat was responsible for policing the Kabul Bank, but his critics say he was a driving force for fraud there. In a Times interview, Azizullah Ludin, the head of the president's high commission on corruption, said Fitrat was "the root of the problem, and he knew everything." He was last known to be staying in Chantilly, Virginia. The United States has no extradition treaty with Afghanistan.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
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