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Economy News - Baghdad
Britain imposed sanctions on five people from different countries, including a former Iraqi official and the son of the president of Equatorial Guinea, as part of its policies to combat corruption worldwide.
The United Kingdom said it had frozen the five's assets and imposed a travel ban on them over allegations of embezzlement of public funds in Equatorial Guinea, Zimbabwe, Venezuela and Iraq.
"The step we have taken today targets individuals who have illegally filled their pockets at the expense of their own citizens," Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said in a statement.
"Corruption drains the wealth of poor countries, keeps people in poverty and poisons the wellspring of democracy," he added.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirmed the imposition of sanctions on the Vice President of Equatorial Guinea, Teodorin Obiang, the son of the current president, for his involvement in embezzling government funds and transferring them to his personal bank accounts.
She said that in addition to arranging contracts through corruption and soliciting bribes, Obiang paid $500 million (425 million euros) to buy a Paris palace, luxury cars and a host of Michael Jackson's collectibles, including a $275,000 crystal-encrusted glove that the pop star wore on his tour. Lyric "Bad" between 1987-1989.
Two Colombian contractors, Alex Nin Saab Moran and Álvaro Enrique Pulido Vargas, were sanctioned for exploiting Venezuela's food and housing programs to supply goods at inflated prices.
Saab, who is believed to be close to Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro and holds a Venezuelan diplomatic passport, is accused by the United States of being the mastermind of the embezzlement network.
He was accused in July 2019 in Miami of money laundering and was arrested during a layover of his plane in the Republic of Cape Verde in mid-June.
The United States is demanding his extradition to its authorities, while Venezuela is demanding his release.
The Venezuelan Foreign Ministry responded late Thursday to the British decision, saying the sanctions were "criminal" and reflected the immorality of the British government, which has positioned itself as the world's presumptive anti-corruption judge.
And sanctions were imposed on the Zimbabwean businessman Kodakwashi Rigmond Taguirre, whose company, Saconda Holdings, had contributed to the devaluation of the currency and the rise in commodity prices in the country.
The British Foreign Office also targeted the Iraqi Nofal Hammadi Al-Sultan with penalties on accusations of embezzling public funds allocated for reconstruction and aiding civilians while he was the governor of Nineveh, in the north of the country.
The measures are the second of their kind under Britain's anti-corruption system. It follows sanctions in April targeting 22 people for their involvement in serious corruption cases in Russia, South Africa, South Sudan and Latin America.
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