The prosecution had brought charges of money laundering and embezzlement that could have sent the two men to jail for 20 years. The lesser charge on which they were convicted, a breach of trust through the misappropriation of funds, carries a maximum five-year prison term.
It also was not clear how the government planned to recoup the money. The verdict did not include a provision for the government to seize property or funds if they are not given over freely.
"The crime of these men was that the Afghan people entrusted their money to the bank and they betrayed that trust. We could not find any other crime to convict them of," Judge Shams told The Associated Press in an interview.
The defendants have the option to appeal Tuesday's decision by the three-judge panel, which is considered a primary court ruling. Farnood and Ferozi have both been under house arrest for more than a year. It was not clear if that would count toward their prison terms.
Five of the 21 defendants were convicted in absentia, including the former chief of the country's central bank, Abdul Qadeer Fitrat, who was sentenced to two years in prison for misusing his authority and failing to inform the government of what was going on inside Kabul Bank. Fitrat is currently in the United States.
Notably absent from the list were some of the highest-profile names attached to the bank, such as shareholders Mahmoud Karzai, one of the Afghan president's brothers, and Hassan Fahim, a brother of First Vice President Mohammad Qasim Fahim.
Those men were not included in this case, but Shams said 13 more people, most of them shareholders, are currently under investigation and that may result in indictments. He also urged the attorney general's office to open probes into another 16 people involved in the scandal.
Since the bailout, Kabul Bank has been renamed New Kabul Bank and is being run by the Afghan government.
Associated Press writer Amir Shah contributed to this report in Kabul.
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