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Afghan Government Says Central Bank Governor On Prosecution List

Afghanistan central bank governor Abdul Qadir Fitrat (in file photo) says he fears for his life.
The Afghan government says the country's top central banker, Da Afghanistan Bank Governor Abdul Qadir Fitrat, was partly responsible for a fraud scandal that led to the collapse of Kabulbank, the country's biggest private lender.

A massive scandal broke out at Kabulbank in September when anticorruption officials said the bank gave away nearly half a billion dollars in unsecured, undocumented loans to top Afghan officials, inlcuding relatives of President Hamid Karzai.

Waheed Omer, Karzai's chief spokesman, now says that Fitrat's name is on a list of people the attorney general's office plans to prosecute over the scandal.

Earlier on June 27, Fitrat, who is currently in the United States, reportedly said he had resigned his central bank governorship because he feared for his life.

"The reason I was not able to resign in Kabul is because my life was completely in danger," Reuters quoted Fitrat as saying. "This was particularly true after I spoke to the parliament and exposed some people who were responsible for the crisis of Kabulbank."

Presidential spokesman Omer said he was not aware that Fitrat had resigned.

U.S. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland has said that Washington will continue to urge reforming and strengthening the Afghan financial sector if the leadership of the Afghan central bank were to change.

The scandal has endangered future support for Afghanistan through the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

compiled from agency reports