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The Iraqi authorities opened an investigation into the request of a parliamentarian against the "currency auction" under which the Iraqi Central Bank sells foreign currency to banks, which in turn sells it to traders.
Deputy Muhammad Sahib Al-Darraji said, in a complaint to the Attorney-General: "Information has circulated about the incorrect invoices of documentary credits to banks dealing with selling currency, and the failure of the Central Bank of Iraq to impose fines and disclose incorrect documents submitted by companies and beneficiaries."
According to official statistics, the value of the Central Bank of Iraq’s sales for the year 2019 of $ 44 billion, amounting to about $ 150 million per day, to cover the import of materials and goods that the country needs, and fix the price of the dinar, while - according to official data - the import volume in the same year $ 18 billion, revealing the disappearance of about $ 26 billion.
The former Minister of Industry, Al-Darraji, affirmed that "the value of customs and tax financial imports is relatively inconsistent with the value of the sums transferred abroad through the sale of dollars in the window of currency sale."
"The vice president of the Summit Center for Strategic Studies, Yunus Al-Kaabi, said that the currency auction is one of the most dangerous files of corruption in Iraq, which is unknown because of its association with partisan interests that have regional and international extensions."
In an interview with Al-Ain News, Al-Kaabi pointed out that "the parties finance their activities from the corruption of the currency auction, which is a source of profit for private banks that are taken by influential political parties as a front," stressing the need to prevent the monopoly of the political parties of the Central Bank.
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The economic expert, Nazem Taher, accused influential parties of controlling the window for selling hard currency since 2003, representing regional and international interests in Iraq. He added, "The sales levels in the local markets increased 3 years ago, coinciding with the sanctions imposed on Iran and the deterioration of the Turkish economy."
The sale of hard currency takes place through the window of the Central Bank to banks and financial transfer sectors for the purpose of importing goods and goods, while entities and figures who run a number of banks are accused of appropriating the total sold.
The danger of the selling window in Iraq, according to experts, is not in draining hard currency internally and facilitating money laundering operations, but rather in being sources of funding for armed factions and militias with regional and international links.
The European Commission had included Iraq, along with other countries, last July, in the list of countries that pose financial risks to the Union due to shortcomings in combating money laundering and terrorist financing.
In 2019, the Central Bank of Iraq issued a reform paper on the hard currency sale window, which included proposals and remedies to develop the auction work and reduce its damages.
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