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Why Farnood was flushed out of Kabulbank

Eric Ellis
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In the battle to rebuild war-torn Afghanistan, Kabulbank inserted itself as a key player, building the country’s largest deposit base and becoming the payment agent for many government enterprises. But a run on the bank in August led to the ousting of colourful poker-playing bank owner Sherkhan Farnood. What does this mean for the country’s banking sector? Eric Ellis reports.

The chips are down: poker-playing Sherkhan Farnood (right) has taken Kabulbank to the brink. It is now in the hands of the central bank

IN THESE CONNECTED days of social networking, the Linked-ins, Facebooks and Zoominfos are as good places as any for a preliminary check on the credentials of a far-flung banker or business partner.

Except, it seems, if that person is Sherkhan Farnood, the erstwhile chairman/owner/founder of Kabulbank, the troubled Afghan bank that is now in the intensive care of the country’s central bank after a crippling run on it in August.

To check out Farnood, and perhaps explain how the wayward Kabulbank came close to derailing the world’s $50 billion post-9/11 nation-building adventure in Afghanistan, a revealing place to look would be the websites of the world’s poker-playing community, where his exploits are legion.

Here’s what the colourful Farnood...