Dubai's Alokozay eyes deal to buy Afghan bank

Country’s banking sector still reeling from scandal linked to Kabul Bank, its largest private lender
Dubai's Alokozay eyes deal to buy Afghan bank
Afghanistan’s banking sector was pulled into the spotlight after the partial collapse of Kabul Bank - the country’s largest private lender
By Joanne Bladd
Mon 25 Apr 2011 11:43 AM

Alokozay Group, the Dubai-based conglomerate with interests in real estate and energy, is seeking approval to buy a bank in Afghanistan.

The CEO of Alokozay Group's Afghan operations told newswire AP Sunday the company sees "great potential" in the Afghan banking sector despite the near collapse of the country's largest private lender, Kabul Bank, amid corruption problems last year.

Chief executive Jalil Alokozay declined to name the bank or provide financial details in an interview, but said the lender is a small bank that deals in microfinance loans.

The deal should be finalised by June-end, he told the newswire.

Afghanistan’s banking sector was pulled into the spotlight after the partial collapse of Kabul Bank - the country’s largest private lender -last September. The lender was taken over by the country’s central bank after claims that former executives siphoned off loans worth a reported $900m, which were partly used to buy luxury properties in Dubai.

A run on the bank was only halted after government assurances and injections of huge amounts of public money.

President Karzai has said rogue shareholders will face legal action if they do not repay their loans.

Alokozay Group last week signed a $60m deal with PepsiCo to bottle and distribute the company’s products form a plan in Kabul.

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