| ||Farnood’s Claims Will Be Investigated: Kabul Bank Court|
By Shakeela Ahbrimkhil
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The head of the special court on the Kabul Bank crisis said there will be an investigation into the claims made by the bank's former chairman and founder Sherkhan Farnood on the involvement of Afghanistan's top leaders, including the president, in the bank's crisis.
Farnood claimed on Wednesday at the first hearing of the court that President Hamid Karzai used $20 million of bank money to fund his electoral campaign for the 2009 presidential poll.
Farnood also named Hassan Fahim, the brother of First Vice President Mohammad Qaasim Fahim, as well as the Minister of Finance Hazrat Omar Zakhilwal and the Attorney General as contributing to the near-collapse of the bank after more than $900 million being embezzled and misappropriated.
Head of Kabul Bank Special Court Shamsul Rahman Shams said Farnood has been asked for evidence of his claims.
"We asked Farnood for evidence and proof of his claims but he has not yet offered any evidence. If he can prove them, we will put [those accused] under interrogation, no matter who it is," Shams said Thursday.
Hassan Fahim, a shareholder of the former bank, rejected the claims said in the public court on Wednesday. Farnood had said Fahim was given $178 million.
"I owed about $36 million and I paid, you can check the documents. Farnood himself is accused of owing $400 million but he wants to decrease his crime so he named Mahmood Karzai and me," Fahim told TOLOnews Thursday.
"The First Vice President Mohammad Qasim Fahim does not have any relationship to my business. Before he came into power, I had that business," Fahim added on whether his brother's position in government gave him greater access to the bank funds.
Shams also said on Thursday that Fahim had paid his debts.
The court hearing, which is seeking to assess the involvement of 22 Kabul Bank employees, should be wrapped up within a month, according to Shams.
"We asked for information from the Attorney General office and when they send us reliable data [on the bank debts] we will announce our last decision in less than one month," he said.
He said five people had released their statements of defense in the first court and the remaining will release their statements in the second hearing on Saturday.