Documents obtained from a credible source reveal the Pashtany Bank account in the Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ (BTMU), its only correspondent institution, has been shut after huge transfers abroad from other private lenders (third parties) in Afghanistan.
In late 2016, when some commercial banks faced with problems in transferring customer dollars abroad, Pashtany Bank cooperated with three private banks and performed their transactions without approval from Da Afghanistan Bank (DAB) and its shareholders.
A list of transactions suggests that Pashtany Bank sent abroad more than $9.5 million of Azizi Bank customers, around $13 million of Afghan United Bank customers and more than $4.5 of Ghazanfar Bank customers.
Before delisting it, the BTMU wrote the Pashtany Bank a letter, saying: “We are dissatisfied with you transfer of a huge amount of dollars through your vostro account; we don’t accept transactions of sources that are not our customers and don’t have valid information.
“We have information that most of these lenders living in Afghanistan are on the black list of Britain and European Union,” the letter reads. “In consideration of the Anti-Money Laundering and Countering Financing of Terrorism Act 2009 (AML/CFT Act), we want you not to process such transactions.”
In response, a letter from the compliance section of the Pashtany Bank said on March 23, 2017 the individuals, whose transfers were processed through the vostro account, were not on the sanction lists and the customers had valid documents, businesses and real locations.
The Pashtany Bank insisted it transferred customers’ money in line with accurate procedure. “That is the reason why we reject transactions of 70 percent of our customer transfers as a result of our assessment,” it reasoned.
However, the BTMU has closed the Pashtany Bank account and returned its $5 million guarantee. The BTMU was the only bank that the Pashtany Bank used for foreign transactions of customers.
Meanwhile, a letter from the Afghan United Bank (AUB) on April 12 expressed concern over restrictions on its customer transfers. It said the AUB identified its customers based on its internal policy. The AUB customers introduced to the Pashtany Bank had real businesses and their transactions were performed based on imports, the letter continued.
A copy of the letter obtained by Pajhwok asked the Pashtany Bank to at least perform transactions of three major customers of AUB – AWCC, Etisalat and Aryana Airlines on a daily basis.
However, the acting head of operations of Pashtany Bank, Ahmad Khisraw, said his bank with BTMU had not been severed. Only the dollar transactions of the Pashtany Bank had been closed, he explained.
The main financial service of BTMU was not based on the dollar, but on the Japanese yuan. Pajhwok also shared the issue with BTMU on May 10, but it has not obtained any response as of Sunday. Khisraw confirmed BTMU had returned the Pashtany Bank’s guarantee.
“The BTMU told us we should perform dollar transactions of banks it has links with. It means that the Japanese bank has no ties with any bank in China,” he maintained. Khisraw said Pashtany Bank wanted to establish relations with the American City Bank and Bank of China.
With regard to illegal transactions, he said there was not a single customer of Pashtany Bank or the private sector was on the sanctions list. An entity on the sanctions list did not have the right to even create a bank account, much less transfer cash to a foreign country, he said.