Karzai's Brother Skirts Kabul Bank Freeze

Afghanistan's top bank teeters on the brink
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 6, 2010 1:20 PM CDT
Afghans wait to get money from Kabul Bank in Kabul, Afghanistan, Monday, Sept. 6, 2010.   (AP Photo/Musadeq Sadeq)
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(Newser) – With Kabul Bank in crisis, authorities in Afghanistan have frozen some assets of all the bank’s principal owners—except for Mahmoud Karzai, brother of Afghan President Hamid Karzai. The Afghan Central Bank has sent a letter banning the bank’s owners from selling property, the Washington Post reports, but it conspicuously omits Karzai, the banks third-largest shareholder.

Karzai says there’s a simple reason he was spared. “They couldn’t freeze my property, because I don’t have it,” he said. “I don’t have a single house or parcel of land in my name in Afghanistan.” Karzai lives in a rented property in Kabul, and spends most of his time in Dubai, where he owns a $5.5 million luxury villa. He purchased the villa with Kabul Bank funds. Critics suspect he also owns property in Afghanistan, under the names of friends or relatives, but others dismiss those allegations as political smears.

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