Afghanistan's Top Bank Faces $900M Losses

Experts fear bank's collapse amid widespread fraud
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Jan 31, 2011 3:20 PM CST

(Newser) – Kabul Bank might be on the brink of collapse. It's lost as much as $900 million in its fraud and mismanagement scandal, three times more than investigators originally expected, the New York Times reports. Investors and businessmen believe most of that cash wound up in the hands of elite Afghan insiders who shielded the bank from scrutiny, making it a potential political bombshell. "Nearly everyone in the Cabinet got money from the bank," one source told the Washington Post.

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.Many of the bank’s Pakistani employees, including its acting chief financial officer, have fled the country, probably to avoid arrest, sources tell the Post. To prop up the bank, the government will need vast financial backing, a tall order given that the IMF hasn't renewed key aid to the country. If the bank fails, it'll have major security implications—most of Afghanistan's security forces are paid through it (Read more Kabul Bank stories.)

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