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Iraq has banking secrecy clause lifted from smuggled money in Switzerland

An Iraqi counts his dinar banknotes on 22 June 2017 [Ali Choukeir/AFP/Getty Images]February 17, 2022 at 9:00 am

Iraq is a step closure to identifying the amount of money deposited in Swiss banks by the former regime and recovering it, the President of the Federal Commission of Integrity (Nazaha) Judge Alaa Jawad Al-Saadi said yesterday.

The official said Iraq has succeeded in removing international banking secrecy clauses off of smuggled funds in Swiss bank in coordination with the Swiss Treasury.

This comes as part of a campaign launched by Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi to recover the smuggled funds, and to stop the country’s wealth being drained through various companies and people.

Smuggled funds are divided into frozen and unfrozen funds believed to be stored mainly in Switzerland and Scandinavia by members of the former regime of the late President Saddam Hussein as well as money smuggled through corrupt deals following the fall of Hussein’s regime in 2003.

A spokesman for the Iraqi Ministry of Justice, Ahmed Laibi, told Anadolu Agency that $150 billion is believed to have been smuggled since 2003 in corrupt deals.

While member of the Parliament Integrity Committee Taha Al-Defei told Al Jazeera Net that the smuggled money is estimated at between $300 and $350 billion.

Both Luaibi and Al-Defei indicated that Iraq does not have data on the amount of frozen and unfrozen funds located abroad, because these funds are registered in the names of companies and individuals and their value and whereabouts are still unknown. Some are in the form of real estate and farms abroad.

Under UN Resolution 1483, member states have agreed to transfer the funds deposited by former Iraqi regime officials to a fund for the reconstruction of the war torn country.

In the same context, Nazaha announced that 11,605 officials; including 54 ministers, were involved in corruption deals during 2021 with 15,290 charges brought against them.