‘Billions of dollars’ smuggled out of Iraq during Maliki’s rule

Al-Huda bank allegedly used forged documents when purchasing foreign currency and to have laundered $6.5 billion to banks and companies in Jordan

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The Iraqi central bank has taken legal action against several banks and customers who went against official instructions regarding the sale of hard currency between from 2012 to 2014, during former Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s rule, the Anadolu news agency reported on Sunday.

The Central Bank said in a statement to Anadolu that along with the legal proceedings taking place, “heavy fines are being collected,” noting that “the bank’s audit teams are currently working on such actions in coordination with judicial authorities on financial irregularities.”

The statement comes only two days after the release of official documents from the Finance Committee in the Iraqi parliament which exposed the smuggling of billions of dollars out of Iraq through a number of banks and financial companies between 2006 and 2014 when Maliki was in power.

One of the documents dated Oct. 8, 2014, showed that the local Iraqi al-Huda bank used foreged documents when it had purchased foreign currency from the central bank for the years 2012, 2013 and 2014, during which a total of $6.5 billion were transferred to banks and companies in Jordan.

Iraq’s Commission of Public Integrity also announced in August the transfer of at least 2171 senior officials, including 13 ministers, to misdemeanor courts on charges of corruption. The ministers of defense, trade, electricity and former transportation were among the most wanted by judicial authorities.

Late last month, an Iraqi trade ministry media adviser was killed by a bomb attached to his car had allegedly been planning to hand over files accusing the ministry of corruption to the country’s Integrity Commission, officials in the ministry’s legal department told Reuters.

Baghdad’s Central Investigative Court for Terrorism and Organized Crime said in a statement that four trade ministry security guards confessed to blowing up Trade Minister Milas Mohammed Abdul Kareem’s media adviser, Nadhim Naeem.

(With Reuters)

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