Afghan Banks in compliance with U.S. regulations
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At a confidential meeting with Afghan banking executives in the Ritz-Carlton hotel in Dubai in April 2013, German Commerzbank said it would shut down U.S.-dollar correspondent relationships with those Afghan banks that don't open separate correspondent accounts with U.S. banks by June 30, 2013 participants said.
Commerzbank provided dollar correspondent accounts to almost all of Afghanistan's 16 banks. Mr. Delawari, the central bank governor, said he expected four—one state-owned and three private—to maintain their Commerzbank ties. While he declined to name them, state-owned Bank-e-Mellie has long had a correspondent relationship with Citibank, and therefore qualifies under Commerzbank's new conditions.
Another Afghan bank, Ghazanfar Bank, received a temporary reprieve from Commerzbank's June 30 deadline as it tries to negotiate an agreement with a U.S. financial institution and beef up its compliance practices.
Standard Chartered, the last Western bank that was operating in Afghanistan, sold its Afghan assets to AIB, in 2012, citing security fears, and agreed to maintain a correspondent relationship with it. Because of that tie-up, AIB is unaffected by Commerzbank's move.
In 2011, the U.S. Treasury designated the top executives of Afghan United Bank, one of the largest in the country, as "narcotics kingpins," barring any U.S. persons from doing business with them. The bank has since been sold to new owners.