International

Karzai Brother Being Investigated For Corruption

The brother of the President of Afghanistan, Mahmood Karzai is being investigated by federal prosecutors in New York according to the Wall Street Journal. Karzai is an American citizen. And he certainly has done well since the invasion of Afghanistan.

He has amassed a net worth of roughly $12 million, according to financial documents he provided The Wall Street Journal. Before 2001, his main business was a restaurant in Cambridge, Mass.

Among other interests, he owns 20% of a sprawling American-style housing development in the desert on the outskirts of Kandahar.

Mahmood Karzai

hide captionMahmood Karzai in 2009

Musadeq Sadeq/AP

The Karzai regime in Afghanistan has been accused of endemic corruption at every level. The corruption has hurt the legitimacy of the Afghan government, but it is so pervasive, that the US is hesitant to go after it full bore, worrying that might destroy the government they've done so much to create.

And the Karzai family has not hesitated to use their connection to President Karzai to get money from the US.

Mahmood Karzai's years in the U.S. gave him access to people like Jack Kemp, the late Republican congressman and vice presidential candidate, who Mr. Karzai said helped him obtain $5.5 million in U.S. government loans to finance a pair of housing developments.

Mr. Kemp "knew I wanted to build Afghanistan. He supported what we are trying to do here," Mr. Karzai said in an interview earlier this summer. He said the loans have been repaid.

The Associated Press has another nice tidbit, Mahmood Karzai's connection to the collapsed Kabul Bank.

Earlier this month, Karzai said he made at least $800,000 by buying and then quickly reselling a high-end Dubai villa using a loan provided by the chairman of troubled Kabul Bank. Karzai is a 7 percent shareholder of the bank, which is now being overseen by Afghanistan's central bank.

Karzai denies any wrongdoing.

Another Karzai brother, Ahmed Wali Karzai, is said to be on the CIA payroll and is suspected of being a player in the country's opium trade. He runs Kandahar and the New York Times reported that the US seriously considered trying to get him removed.

Senior American officials spent months weighing allegations against Ahmed Wali Karzai: that he pays off Taliban insurgents, that he launders money, that he seizes land, that he reaps enormous profits by facilitating the shipment of opium through the area. And the officials concluded that the evidence, some compelling, some circumstantial, was not clear enough to persuade the president to move his brother out of town, two NATO officials said.

Trying to think of the right version of "the family that ________ together.." and can't quite come up with something appropriate. Feel free to contribute your own.

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