Afghan Biographies

Kabul Bank (Old Kabul Bank)

Name Kabul Bank (Old Kabul Bank)
Ethnic backgr.
Date of birth
Function/Grade Old Kabul Bank Background, Actors and actual Development
History and Biodata

Independent Joint Anti-Corruption Monitoring and Evaluation Committee (MEC) chairman Yama Torabi, summarised their findings like this: The latest episode in the Kabul Bank scandal is evidence that the initial strong political will became diluted in the face of strong pressure. This case shows that Afghanistan is still not well equipped to recover stolen assets – both internally and working with foreign governments. Nor has it the will to sentence those who engaged in organized financial crimes.(20161003)

The Attorney General Office (AGO) says that at least $440 million of Kabul Bank’s missing money has been retrieved so far. Abdul Basir Azizi, AGO spokesman said that the case has not been closed yet. He added that efforts have been made for recovering the remaining money. According to Azizi, some accused have been detained and 155 owing money from Kabul Bank have been placed on the do-not-exit list. Some others who live abroad, Afghan government is in contact with the governments of those countries to have them come back.(20150825)

In an anti-corruption move, the director and deputy of the Kabul Bank’s clearance department have been arrested by the National Directorate of Security (NDS) and law enforcement personnel this week. Both the officials have been held on charges of receiving bribes form a debtor of the former Kabul Bank. According to the Anti-Corruption Prosecution Officer Chairman, Said Alam Ishaqzai, the two officials have been arrested for taking a $100,000 USD bribe. Yet despite the warning by the president, some 18 powerful individuals from political and business elite families and institutions continue debtors of the bank. Of the 18 bigwigs, only Mahmood Karzai, Ghafar Dawy, and Gulbahar Habibi have publicly committed to paying back their debts.(20150625)

The appeal court ordered a freeze on assets for the following people and companies: Mahmoud Karzai; Hajji Mohammad Zahir; Ghulam Dawoud Nusrat; Sufi Nisar Ahmad; Shukrullah Shukran; Hayatollah Kokcha; Abdul Ghafar Dawi; Gulbahar Habibi; Gulbahar Habibi; Akhtar Gul; Malik Jan; Mohammad Tahir; Hussian Fahim Hairatan Oil facilities; Kabul Naft; Pamir Aviation Company; Gulbahar Tower; Shaheen Money Exchange Company; Ariana Steel; Zahir Group; Gas Group.(20141113)

Police have arrested five more persons in connection with the Kabul Bank case. The arrested persons include Atiqullah, chairman of Sediqyar Company and his deputy Mohibullah, Abdul Majid, a serving employee of the New Kabul Bank, Hajji Mahmoud and Mohibullah, a jobless person presently.(20141112)

The former chairman of Kabul Bank Sherkhan Farnood was jailed for 15 years by appellate court in Kabul on Tuesday 11, Dec 2014. Farnood was jailed for five years over money laundering and awarded an additional ten years imprisonment for involvement in embezzlement of nearly $1 billion of the bank’s funds which led to the collapse of the bank in 2010.

The court also awarded a fine of $334 million to Farnood for the embezzlement of Kabul Bank funds.

Similarly, the former chief executive officer of the bank Khalilullah Ferozi was jailed for five years over money laundering and was jailed for another ten years for being involved in embezzlement of the bank’s funds. He was also awarded a fine of $196 million. The court also ordered to freeze all properties belong to Sherkhan Farnood and Khalilullah Ferozi.The assets of Mahmood Karzai, brother of former President Hamid Karzai, and Hasin Fahim, brother of late Marshal Qasim Fahim, were also frozen by the court. (20141111)

On his second day of presidency, Dr. Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai issued a decree to reopen the Kabul Bank scandal case.(20141001) The Attorney General Office (AGO) officials said Thursday Oct 02, 2014 that $729 million from the embezzled Kabul Bank money is still missing. Basir Azizi, spokesman for the Attorney General Office told reporters that the government has managed to recollect $184 million from $913 million which were embezzled by the former officials and employees of the bank.

Azizi further added that the Attorney General Office has resumed work on Kabul Bank scandal case. He said the former Central Bank – De Afghanistan Bank chief Abdul Qadir Fitrat who escaped from the country following the collapse of the bank is being chased through Interpol. According to Azizi, at least 19 people including the former Central Bank chief had bailed, but the government will bring them back into custody. Azizi also added that the Attorney General Office has filed a case with the appellate court since the penalties awarded to the convicts are not sufficient and their cases should be reviewed.(20141002)

Following the announcement of the escape of Musa Khan Ghazi, Kabul Bank CEO, and Mohebullah Safi, CEO of The Millie Bank, there is documentary evidence that show that both men, after being charged as criminals, were released on bail thanks to efforts by the Deputy Minister of Finance Mustafa Mastoor, who signed the bail documents that gained the two men their freedom two years ago. The Deputy Minister questioned why the two men were under investigation when they were given permission from the Minister of Finance (Hazrat Omar Zakhilwal) to leave the country, and there remain many individuals who owe millions of dollars worth of Kabul Bank assets but are still free.(20141016)


AGO Spokesman Basir Azizi said that Sher Khan Farnood and Khalil Ferozi along with the former Central Bank chief Abdul Qadir Fitrat are among the 21 people who were involved in Kabul Bank embezzlement. He said both Farnood and Ferozi are in the custody while Fitrat is in the United States, and the detained individuals include, Tariq Miran, Mohammad Qasim Rahimi, Sher Aqa, Bismillah, Mahboob Shah Frotan and Mohammad Arif Salek.(20141011)

Deputy Attorney General Rahmatulalh Nazari has said the two senior officials of New Kabul Bank, Masoud Ghazni and Mohibullah Safi have left the country on the pretext of official leave.The two officials are accused for being involved in Kabul Bank collapse for taking loans from the bank.(20141013)

Kabul Bank Receivership Department:
Sayed Hamid Mohibi, Hamidullah Mohebi, Hameedullah Mohebbi (20121105)

Abdul Hamid Muhibi the Chief of Audit for Kabul Bank had reported a list of people who had taken unauthorized loans from the Kabul Bank. The list is as follows:
Sher Khan Farnood: USD 279 million
Zahid Walid Company (under the Supervision of Haseen Fahim, brother of the First Vice President of the Government): USD 4.4 million
Mahmood Karzai, Tahir Zahid and Ghulam Daud: USD 16 million each
Shukrullah Shakir: USD 2.1 million
Haji Khalil: USD 29 million
Khalilullah Ferozi: USD 5.7 million
Gas Group Company: USD 121 million
Hayatullah: USd 1.7 million
Pamir Airways: USD 98 million
Gulbahar Adibi: USD 30 million

A presidential decree in April 2012 granted immunity from prosecution to any of those implicated who returned funds within two months. The two who responded were Mahmoud Karzai, the president's brother, who has paid back $22 million and Haji Hasseen, the vice-president's sibling, who returned $18 million, according to Shams. Both have denied any wrongdoing.

Only two of those charged with fraud are in detention. They are bank's founder Sherkhan Farnoon, and its former chief executive, Khalil Fruzi, who Afghan officials believe were the masterminds behind the scandal.

According to a Presidential Office report, up to $138m in cash and costing up to $185 million properties had been returned so far, the statement said adding over $218 million had been confessed by the debtors as well as $529 million are still remained disputed.(20121031). Kabul Bank’s Receivership Department said they are faced with problems in selling Kabul Bank properties both inside and outside of Afghanistan. The Bank currently holds 11 properties worth more than USD 32mn in Dubai. Three of the eleven properties in Dubai are being sold: one worth USD 6.1mn, another for USD 8.4mn and a house worth 2.9mn. Another eight properties of Kabul Bank’s shareholders will be put to auction with help of Dubai’s governmental institutions.(20121103)

Assessment of former Kabul Bank financial system showed that two shareholders of the Bank [their names not mentioned] owed US$ 70 million to the Bank. With their former debts included, now the total amount to be repaid to the Bank is US$ 980 million, said the head of Kabul Bank Receivership Office, Syed Hamid Mohibi. Officials of the Central Bank expressed concerns that there is no buyer to acquire the properties of the Kabul Bank. The officials added that they recently obtained lost documents for another US$ 70 million of the Bank’s disappeared money.The chairperson of the Central Bank said that only US$ 250 million of the Kabul Bank’s lost loans are unlikely to be retrieved, and those who borrowed the money from the Bank would be introduced to a special court soon.(20121004)

Sher Khan Farnood, President Hamid Karzai’s brother Mehmood Karzai, first vice-president’s brother Mohammad Hussain Fahim, Tahir Zahir, Ghulam Daud Nasib, Sufi Nisar, Shukrullah Shakran, Istiqlal township owner Haji Khalil, Kabul Bank Director Khalilullah Ferozi and Hayatullah are among the big-time borrowers. Nearly $850 million were taken from the bank in off-book loans.$128.2 million of the New Kabul Bank loans had been recovered so far and repayment guarantees received from the individuals who had to return $235.1 million. $410.4 million credit remained unaccounted for.(20120616)

The board of directors of Kabul Bank decided to close an additional 17 branches of the bank in Kabul and some other provinces.(20111225)

Governor of Da Afghanistan Bank Abdul Qadir Fitrat on 20110427 named some of Kabul Bank shareholders who were allegedly involved in misusing clients' deposits. Sher Khan Farnood, Khalil Ferozi, Mohammad Hussain Fahim, Mahmood Karzai, Gulbahar Habibi, Abdul Ghafar Dawi, Mohammad Ibrahim, Sofi Nisar, Tahir Zahir, Daud Nasim violated Article 34 of the banking law by misusing customers' deposits.

More than a year after the Afghan government seized control of the nation’s largest bank (Kabul Bank) because its reserves were being looted, officials have recovered less than 10 percent of the nearly $1 billion that went missing.(20111002)

Only $77.5 million in loans from the bank had been repaid as of 2012 Jan. 1, according to bank documents. And almost half that amount came from the servicing of legitimate loans, which investigators estimate made up less than a tenth of the bank’s loan portfolio.(20120405)

The deputy Attorney-General, Rahmatullah Nazari said, some 21 of the culprits were investigated while 14 of them managed to escape Afghanistan. Nazari added that the Government has sent letters to the Interpol and a number of interior and foreign ministries and embassies of a number of concerned countries to arrest them. The culprits’ properties that were identified can compensate only 50 per cent of the loans, Nazari said. Mahmood Karzai, President Karzai’s brother, is also a Kabul Bank debtor, only repaid his personal loans and did not resolve his Kabul Bank shares issue, Nazari added.(20120603)

All the embezzled money of the former Kabul Bank can’t be recovered, said Bank’s receivership manager, Hamidullah Mohebbi. He added that according to the worldwide experiences the maximum of 40 per cent of money lost by banks, which went bankrupt, are recoverable. He said that their work was going on well and some assets of Bank, Pamir Airways and Hairatan [Fuel] Reservoirs, will be sold to a government organization.(20131209)



Afghan Bios Insider view:
The Afghan Central Bank has launched an investigation into Kabul Bank and Azizi Bank, the country's second largest. Kabul Bank will be liquidated in April 2011. Kabul Bank's biggest shareholders, including a brother of the Afghan president, Mahmood Karzai, allegedly used improperly obtained loans to speculate on the Dubai property market that has since gone bust, and to lead luxurious lifestyles, was reported by Wall Street Journal 20110327. Kabul Bank was unter control of President Karzais brother Mahmood Karzai and Zahid Fahim, a relative to Marshal Fahim. This is another fact showing the deep involvement of the Karzai and Fahim family in business in Afghanistan. Kabul Bank is linked to dubious Pamir Airways.

More Background:
The central bank had summoned Kabul Bank's top management, including chairman Sherkhan Farnood and chief executive Khalilullah Fruzi (both are holding 28% each), to its Kabul offices and ordered them to resign. Authorities in Afghanistan have taken over the nation's top bank, which is partly owned by President Hamid Karzai's brother Mahmoud Karzai (holding 7%) and has been beset by graft claims, the Washington Post reported 20100831. The faltering finances of Kabul Bank, which handles salary payments for Afghan soldiers, police and teachers, had threatened to wreak both economic and political havoc, the newspaper said, quoting Afghan bankers and officials. Afghanistan's central bank took control of the bank and ordered its chairman to hand over 160 million dollars worth of luxury villas and other property purchased in Dubai for well-connected insiders, the report said.

Management Kabul Bank:
Mr. Sherkhan Farnood ( is the Chairman and Mr. Khalilullah Frozi is the Chief Executive Officer of Kabul Bank (20091122).

Board of Shareholders
1. Mr. Sherkhan Farnood, born 1964 2. Mrs. Farida Farnood 3. Mr. Khalilullah Fruzi 4. Mr. Mahmood Karzai 5. Mr. Haji Sherin Khan 6. Mr. Mohammad Tahir 7. Mr. Ghulam Farooq Naseeb 8. Dr. Ahmad Javid 9. Mr. Jamal Khail 10. Mr. Abdul Rab 11. Mr. Hayatullah 12. Mr. Zahid Fahim 13. Mr. Mohammad Ihsan Rafat 14. Mr. Shokrullah Shokran 15. Mr. Rabiullah Kakar 16. Mr. Naser Ahmad Shareholders Stake: 1. Sherkhan Farnood 28.16% 2. Khalilullah Fruzi 28.16% 3. Farida Farnood 6.68% 4. Mahmood Karzai 7.41% 5. Haji Sherin Khan 5.93% 6. Mohammed Taheer 6.74% 7. Ghulam Farooq Naseeb 2.96% 8. Ahmad Javid 2.16% 9. Jamal Khil 1.93% 10. Abdul Rab 1.48% 11. Zahed Faheem 2.96% 12. Mohammad Ihsan Rafet 0.89% 13. Shokrullah Shokran 0.74% 14. Rabiulla Kakar 0.59% 16. Hayatullah 1.48% 18. Nesar Ahmad 1.70%

Board of Directors
Name Designation Mr. SherKhan Farnood Chairman Dr. Ahmad Javid Director Mr. Amitava Basu Director Mr. Eng Mohd Afzal Habib Director Mr. Amanullah Hamed Director Audit Committee Name Designation Dr. Avinash Chandra Jha Chief Of Audit Committee Mr. Asmatullah Shafaq Member Mr. Mohammad Ehrar Member Mr. SherAgha Arman Member Mr. Amanullah Nahzad Member Board of Management Name Designation Mr. Khalilullah Fruzi Chief Executive Officer Mr. Shokrullah Shokran Deputy Chief Executive Officer Mr. Abdul Basir Forugh Chief Operations Officer Mr. Mohd Zawqi Azizi Chief Admin Officer Mr. Mahboob Frotan Chief Compliance Officer Mr. Mohd Tariq Meeran Chief Technology Officer Mr. Kamal Naser Kroor Chief CBS Officer Mr. G.Ramachandran Chief Credit Officer Mr. Syed Zia-ul Hassan Chief Risk Management Officer Mr. Mathew P J Chief Finance Officer Mr. Raja Jayaraman Chief Audit Officer Mr. Asmatullah Shafaq Chief HR Officer Mr. Noorullah Saifi Chief Marketing Officer Advisors Name Designation Mr. Johnson M R Chief Advisor Mr. Avinash Chandra Jha Chief Advisor Statutory Auditors M/s Behl, Lad %26 Sayegh Chartered Accountants PO Box 25709, Dubai UAE

More more  Background:
Kabul bank was the largest commercial Bank of Afghanistan. Having started commercial operations on 27th June 2004, the Bank has become the market leader in terms of business volume, number of branches, customer base, employees etc. Kabul Bank has increased its branch network to 53 branches covering 9 provinces. Bank is having 27 branches in Kabul and other 26 branches are in provinces. Background Kabul Bank Operations: Kabul Bank's Sherkhan Farnood feeds crony capitalism in Afghanistan By Andrew Higgins Washington Post Monday, February 22, 2010, A01 KABUL -- Afghanistan's biggest private bank -- founded by the Islamic nation's only world-class poker player -- celebrated its fifth year in business last summer with a lottery for depositors at Paris Palace, a Kabul wedding hall. Prizes awarded by Kabul Bank included nine apartments in the Afghan capital and cash gifts totaling more than $1 million. The bank trumpeted the event as the biggest prize drawing of its kind in Central Asia. Less publicly, Kabul Bank's boss has been handing out far bigger prizes to his country's U.S.-backed ruling elite: multimillion-dollar loans for the purchase of luxury villas in Dubai by members of President Hamid Karzai's family, his government and his supporters. The close ties between Kabul Bank and Karzai's circle reflect a defining feature of the shaky post-Taliban order in which Washington has invested more than $40 billion and the lives of more than 900 U.S. service members: a crony capitalism that enriches politically connected insiders and dismays the Afghan populace. "What I'm doing is not proper, not exactly what I should do. But this is Afghanistan," Kabul Bank's founder and chairman, Sherkhan Farnood, said in an interview when asked about the Dubai purchases and why, according to data from the Persian Gulf emirate's Land Department, many of the villas have been registered in his name. "These people don't want to reveal their names." Afghan laws prohibit hidden overseas lending and require strict accounting of all transactions. But those involved in the Dubai loans, including Kabul Bank's owners, said the cozy flow of cash is not unusual or illegal in a deeply traditional system underpinned more by relationships than laws. The curious role played by the bank and its unorthodox owners has not previously been reported and was documented by land registration data, public records and interviews in Kabul, Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Moscow. Many of those involved appear to have gone to considerable lengths to conceal the benefits they have received from Kabul Bank or its owners. Karzai's older brother and his former vice president, for example, both have Dubai villas registered under Farnood's name. Kabul Bank's executives said their books record no loans for these or other Dubai deals financed at least in part by Farnood, including home purchases by Karzai's cousin and the brother of Mohammed Qasim Fahim, his current first vice president and a much-feared warlord who worked closely with U.S. forces to topple the Taliban in 2001. At a time when Washington is ramping up military pressure on the Taliban, the off-balance-sheet activities of Afghan bankers raise the risk of financial instability that could offset progress on the battlefield. Fewer than 5 percent of Afghans have bank accounts, but among those who do are many soldiers and policemen whose salaries are paid through Kabul Bank. A U.S. official who monitors Afghan finances, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to comment publicly, said banks appear to have plenty of money but noted that in a crisis, Afghan depositors "won't wait in line holding cups of latte" but would be "waving AK-47s." Kabul Bank executives, in separate interviews, gave different accounts of what the bank is up to with Dubai home buyers. "They are borrowers. They have an account at Kabul Bank," said the bank's chairman, Farnood, a boisterous 46-year-old with a gift for math and money -- and the winner of $120,000 at the 2008 World Series of Poker Europe, held in a London casino. The bank's chief audit officer, Raja Gopalakrishnan, however, insisted that the loan money didn't come directly from Kabul Bank. He said it was from affiliated but separate entities, notably a money-transfer agency called Shaheen Exchange, which is owned by Farnood, is run by one of Kabul Bank's 16 shareholders and operates in Kabul out of the bank's headquarters. The audit officer said Farnood "thinks it is one big pot," but the entities are "legally definitely separate." A new economy In some ways, Kabul Bank is a symbol of how much has changed in Afghanistan since 2001, when the country had no private banks and no economy to speak of. Kabul Bank has opened more than 60 branches and recently announced that it will open 250 more, and it claims to have more than $1 billion in deposits from more than a million Afghan customers. Kabul Bank prospers because Afghanistan, though extremely poor, is in places awash with cash, a result of huge infusions of foreign aid, opium revenue and a legal economy that, against the odds, is growing at about 15 percent a year. The vast majority of this money flows into the hands of a tiny minority -- some of it through legitimate profits, some of it through kickbacks and insider deals that bind the country's political, security and business elites. The result is that, while anchoring a free-market order as Washington had hoped, financial institutions here sometimes serve as piggy banks for their owners and their political friends. Kabul Bank, for example, helps bankroll a money-losing airline owned by Farnood and fellow bank shareholders that flies three times a day between Kabul and Dubai. Kabul Bank's executives helped finance President Hamid Karzai's fraud-blighted reelection campaign last year, and the bank is partly owned by Mahmoud Karzai, the Afghan president's older brother, and by Haseen Fahim, the brother of Karzai's vice presidential running mate. Farnood, who now spends most of his time in Dubai, said he wants to do business in a "normal way" and does not receive favors as a result of his official contacts. He said that putting properties in his name means his bank's money is safe despite a slump in the Dubai property market: He can easily repossess if borrowers run short on cash. A review of Dubai property data and interviews with current and former executives of Kabul Bank indicate that Farnood and his bank partners have at least $150 million invested in Dubai real estate. Most of their property is on Palm Jumeirah, a man-made island in the shape of a palm tree where the cheapest house costs more than $2 million. Mirwais Azizi, an estranged business associate of Farnood and the founder of the rival Azizi Bank in Kabul, has also poured money into Dubai real estate, with even more uncertain results. A Dubai company he heads, Azizi Investments, has invested heavily in plots of land on Palm Jebel Ali, a stalled property development. Azizi did not respond to interview requests. His son, Farhad, said Mirwais was busy. Responsibility for bank supervision in Afghanistan lies with the Afghan central bank, whose duties include preventing foreign property speculation. The United States has spent millions of dollars trying to shore up the central bank. But Afghan and U.S. officials say the bank, though increasingly professional, lacks political clout. The central bank's governor, Abdul Qadir Fitrat, said his staff had "vigorously investigated" what he called "rumors" of Dubai property deals, but "unfortunately, up until now they have not found anything." Fitrat, who used to live in Washington, last month sent a team of inspectors to Kabul Bank as part of a regular review of the bank's accounts. He acknowledged that Afghan loans are "very difficult to verify" because "we don't know who owns what." Kabul Bank's dealings with Mahmoud Karzai, the president's brother, help explain why this is so. In interviews, Karzai, who has an Afghan restaurant in Baltimore, initially said he rented a $5.5 million Palm Jumeirah mansion, where he now lives with his family. But later he said he had an informal home-loan agreement with Kabul Bank and pays $7,000 a month in interest. "It is a very peculiar situation. It is hard to comprehend because this is not the usual way of doing business," said Karzai, whose home is in Farnood's name. Karzai also said he bought a 7.4 percent stake in the bank with $5 million he borrowed from the bank. But Gopalakrishnan, the chief audit officer, said Kabul Bank's books include no loans to the president's brother. Also in a Palm Jumeirah villa registered in Farnood's name is the family of Ahmad Zia Massoud, Afghanistan's first vice president from 2004 until last November. The house, bought in December 2007 for $2.3 million, was first put in the name of Massoud's wife but was later re-registered to give Farnood formal ownership, property records indicate. Massoud, brother of the legendary anti-Soviet guerrilla leader Ahmad Shah Massoud, said that Farnood had always been the owner but let his family use it rent-free for the past two years because he is "my close friend." Massoud added: "We have played football together. We have played chess together." Farnood, however, said that though the "villa is in my name," it belongs to Massoud "in reality." Haseen Fahim, the brother of Afghanistan's current first vice president, has been another beneficiary of Kabul Bank's largesse. He got money from Farnood to help buy a $6 million villa in Dubai, which, unusually, is under his own name. He borrowed millions more from the bank, which he partly owns, to fund companies he owns in Afghanistan. In an interview at Kabul Bank's headquarters, Khalilullah Fruzi, who as chief executive heads the bank's day-to-day operations, said he didn't know how much bank money has ended up in Dubai. If Karzai's relatives and others buy homes "in Dubai, or Germany or America . . . that is their own affair," Fruzi said, adding that the bank "doesn't give loans directly for Dubai." Fruzi, a former gem trader, said Kabul Bank is in robust health, makes a profit and has about $400 million in liquid assets deposited with the Afghan central bank and other institutions. Kabul Bank is so flush, he added, that it is building a $30 million headquarters, a cluster of shimmering towers of bulletproof glass. The bank is also spending millions to hire gunmen from a company called Khurasan Security Services, which, according to registration documents, used to be controlled by Fruzi and is now run by his brother. The roots of Kabul Bank stretch back to the Soviet Union. Both Fruzi and Farnood got their education and their start in business there after Moscow invaded Afghanistan in 1979. While in Moscow, Farnood set up a successful hawala money-transfer outfit to move funds between Russia and Kabul. Russian court documents show that 10 of Farnood's employees were arrested in 1998 and later convicted of illegal banking activity. Fearful of arrest in Russia and also in Taliban-ruled Afghanistan, Farnood shifted his focus to Dubai. In 2004, three years after the fall of the Taliban regime, he got a license to open Kabul Bank. His Dubai-registered hawala, Shaheen Exchange, moved in upstairs and started moving cash for bank clients. It last year shifted $250 million to $300 million to Dubai, said the chief audit officer. The bank began to take in new, politically connected shareholders, among them the president's brother, Mahmoud, and Fahim, brother of the vice president, who registered his stake in the name of his teenage son. Fahim said two of his companies have borrowed $70 million from Kabul Bank. Insider borrowing, he said, is unavoidable and even desirable in Afghanistan because, in the absence of a solid legal system, business revolves around trust, not formal contracts. "Afghanistan is not America or Europe. Afghanistan is starting from zero," he said. Fahim's business has boomed, thanks largely to subcontracting work on foreign-funded projects, including a new U.S. Embassy annex and various buildings at CIA sites across the country, among them a remote base in Khost where seven Americans were killed in a December suicide attack by a Jordanian jihadiist. "I have good opportunities to get profit," Fahim said. 'Like wild horses' Kabul Bank also plunged into the airline business, providing loans to Pamir Airways, an Afghan carrier now owned by Farnood, Fruzi and Fahim. Pamir spent $46 million on four used Boeing 737-400s and hired Hashim Karzai, the president's cousin, formerly of Silver Spring, as a "senior adviser." Farnood said he also provided a "little bit" of money to help Hashim Karzai buy a house on Palm Jumeirah in Dubai. Karzai, in brief telephone interviews, said that the property was an investment and that he had borrowed some money from Farnood. He said he couldn't recall details and would "have to check with my accountant." Noor Delawari, governor of the central bank during Kabul Bank's rise, said Farnood and his lieutenants "were like wild horses" and "never paid attention to the rules and regulations." Delawari said he didn't know about any property deals by Kabul Bank in Dubai. He said that he, too, bought a home in the emirate, for about $200,000. Fitrat, the current central bank governor, has tried to take a tougher line against Kabul Bank and its rivals, with little luck. Before last year's presidential election, the central bank sent a stern letter to bankers, complaining that they squander too much money on "security guards and bulletproof vehicles" and "expend large-scale monetary assistance to politicians." The letter ordered them to remain "politically neutral." Kabul Bank did the opposite: Fruzi, its chief executive, joined Karzai's campaign in Kabul while Farnood, its poker-playing chairman, organized fundraising events for Karzai in Dubai. One of these was held at the Palm Jumeirah house of Karzai's brother. The government has returned the favor. The ministries of defense, interior and education now pay many soldiers, police and teachers through Kabul Bank. This means that tens of millions of dollars' worth of public money sloshes through the bank, an unusual arrangement, as governments generally don't pump so much through a single private bank. Soon after his November inauguration for a second term, President Karzai spoke at an anti-corruption conference in Kabul, criticizing officials who "after one or two years work for the government get rich and buy houses in Dubai." Last month, he flew to London for a conference on Afghanistan, attended by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and other leaders, and again promised an end to the murky deals that have so tarnished his rule. Also in London for the conference were Farnood, who now has an Afghan diplomatic passport, and Fruzi, who served as a financial adviser to Karzai's reelection campaign and also owns a house in Dubai. "If there is no Kabul Bank, there will be no Karzai, no government," Fruzi said.

Last Modified 2016-10-20
Established 2009-11-22