Firdavs Berdiyev, deputy chairman of Tajikistan’s second largest lender Tojiksodirotbank (TSB), has reportedly fled Tajikistan to Switzerland, Eurasianet reported on August 13, citing TojNews.org.
Berdiyev’s decision might be tied to TSB’s troubles - the bank has been seeking help to avert a potential liquidity crisis since May, as the country’s entire banking sector faced troubles. Some suggest Berdiyev has fled the country over fears he might be the subject of criminal investigation over the bank's slow-motion meltdown, while others say he left following an agreement with the bank's management.
In the meantime, people in Berdiyev’s inner circle told Eurasianet that he is currently in New York, where he is in talks with New York-based Citibank to attract investment into TSB.
Tajikistan’s central bank was reportedly in talks with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) over a $500mn bailout package for the country’s banking sector in February. The central bank’s existing debt to the IMF amounts to $132.4mn.
In addition, The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) reached a preliminary agreement in May to inject $165mn into the capital of TSB.
Tajikistan’s banks have been hit hard by the country’s economic problems, much of them linked to declining exports and remittances with Russia, which have left many of the country’s businesses and individuals unable to repay their loans to banks and microfinance institutions.
The rise in NPLs has eroded the bank’s capital buffers. Tajik banks’ aggregate average capital adequacy ratio (CAR) has been consistently falling from 25.9% in 2012 to 11.1% in 2015.
On the other hand, the country’s Finance Minister Abdusalom Kurboniyon said on July 29 that the problems in the banking sector were no longer critical.
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