KABUL: Kabul has revoked the license of the Iran-linked Arian Bank due to “grave violations,” a spokesman for Afghanistan’s Central Bank told Arab News on Monday.
The move was not linked to US sanctions on Iran, Aimal Ashoor added. The Central Bank convened a meeting recently to review the activities of foreign banks, he said.
The cancelation of Arian Bank’s operating license follows that of Pakistan-based Habib Bank, he added.
“Arian Bank is actually an Afghan bank but it has Iranian shareholders. The cancellation of the license is because of grave violations of the laws and guidelines of the Central Bank,” Ashoor said.
“Like Habib Bank, Arian Bank hadn’t offered loans to traders and had zero role in the economic development of Afghanistan.”
Al-Falah and the National Bank of Pakistan are the only foreign financial institutions that came out clean from the review and are allowed to operate, Ashoor said.
Arian Bank is actually an Afghan bank but it has Iranian shareholders. The cancellation of the license is because of grave violations of the laws and guidelines of the Central Bank.
Aimal Ashoor, Spokesman for Central Bank
Arian Bank was established in June 2004 with initial capital of $10 million. Its goal was to facilitate financial help for Afghan and Iranian traders.
In recent years, Iran has become Afghanistan’s main trading partner. However, a wave of US sanctions slapped on Iran since last autumn has affected trade between the neighbors and led to Iranian goods soaring in price in Afghan markets.
Analyst Akbar Polad said the cancelation of Arian Bank’s license will have no impact on the Afghan economy. “Both Habib Bank and Arian Bank had become means of taking money from Afghanistan, i.e. money laundering. Neither had contributed to economic development and investment in the country,” he told Arab News.
Wahidullah Ghazikhail, who served in the previous Afghan government and runs a think tank, said banks have not had much of a role in the country’s development.
Among the allegations against Arian Bank is that it provided cash to some opposition politicians, and that may have caused the cancelation of its license, he added. “Closing the bank could create problems for some (traders) in Afghanistan and Iran,” he told Arab News.