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AFGHANISTAN - KABUL BANK - corrected

An Afghan judge has sentenced the two former heads of what was once Afghanistan's largest bank to five years in prison for involvement in the massive fraud scandal that brought the bank down in 2010.

Judge Shamsul Rahman Shams on Tuesday sentenced former Kabul Bank chairman Sherkhan Farnood and the bank's former chief executive officer, Khalilullah Ferozi. The two men are also required to pay back the money stolen -- some $531 million by Ferozi and $279 million by Farnood.

Some 20 other defendants were also convicted in Tuesday's ruling. They have the right to appeal.

These are the first convictions for the Kabul Bank collapse, which saw hundreds of millions of dollars disappear in fraudulent loans.

The bank was bailed out by the government and relaunched as New Kabul Bank.

Tuesday's proceedings were expected to be seen as a measure of the government's commitment to fighting corruption, something international aid donors are demanding.

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