Iraq opens central bank corruption probe

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“I can confirm that we received the Central Bank dossier from the integrity committee in parliament,” said Hassan Aati, spokesman for the Integrity Commission, Iraq’s anti-corruption watchdog.

“It is currently under investigation. The investigation has just started.”

Baha al-Araji, the chairman of parliament’s integrity committee, said the investigation was “not about money, but about procedures that led to the weakening of the dinar against the dollar.”

“Nothing has been proven until now,” he said, noting: “The investigation is still ongoing.”

Araji said 30 arrest warrants had been issued, including for CBI governor Sinan al-Shabibi and his deputy Mudher Saleh. He added the pair had not been subjected to a travel ban.

“I am sure that the governor of the central bank and his deputy will show up in front of the judiciary to defend themselves,” Araji said.

Contacted by telephone while in Tokyo for a meeting of the International Monetary Fund, Shabibi told AFP he was unaware of any warrants, adding: “Inshallah (God willing), there will not be arrest warrants.”

Iraq’s currency has been largely stable against the U.S. dollar, which has been worth around 1,200 dinars per dollar for the past few years.

Concerns have been raised, however, that currency auctions organized by the central bank were being used by neighboring Iran and Syria to shore up foreign currency reserves, allegations the central bank has denied.

The bank nevertheless tightened its rules on the purchase of U.S. dollars earlier this year.

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