In the wake of a recent visit by a senior US Treasury official, Iraq has taken a bold step by prohibiting eight local commercial banks from engaging in transactions with US dollars. This move is aimed at combating fraud, money laundering, and other illicit uses of US currency, reflecting the nation’s commitment to curbing financial malpractices.
These eight banks are now restricted from participating in the daily US dollar auction conducted by the Central Bank of Iraq (CBI), a significant source of hard currency for the nation. The auction has been a focal point in the American campaign against the smuggling of money into Iran, emphasizing the broader effort to strengthen global financial security.
Iraq’s decision stems from a trust in Washington’s continued provision of access to oil earnings and finances. With reserves exceeding $100 billion in the United States, Iraq anticipates ongoing cooperation while taking decisive measures to address concerns related to financial misconduct and illicit money flows.
This move follows a similar action taken last July when the United States barred 14 Iraqi banks from conducting US dollar transactions, part of a wider crackdown on the illicit transfer of funds to Iran and other sanctioned countries. The ongoing efforts underscore the international community’s commitment to limiting Iran’s access to global financial networks.
The primary objective of these US sanctions is to impede Iran’s ability to access US dollars through Iraqi banks. By targeting specific financial institutions, the United States aims to disrupt the flow of funds that could potentially support activities contrary to its interests, as reported by BNN Breaking.
Recently, the US Treasury Department identified Al-Huda Bank, an Iraqi financial institution, as a conduit for terrorist financing. Designating it as a foreign financial institution of primary money laundering concern, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) issued a regulation aimed at severing Al-Huda Bank from the American financial system. This includes forbidding domestic financial institutions and agencies from opening or maintaining correspondent accounts for the bank.
In a statement, the US Treasury Department emphasized that Al-Huda Bank and its foreign supporters, including Iran and its proxies, divert funds away from lawful commerce and the economic aspirations of the Iraqi people. The move aligns with the broader objective of promoting a financially stable Iraq that can achieve economic self-sufficiency.
Brian Nelson, the Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence at the US Department of the Treasury, acknowledged Iraq’s progress in combating illicit financial activities. However, he emphasized the ongoing challenges, stating that unscrupulous actors persist in exploiting the Iraqi economy for the purpose of raising and moving money for illicit activities. The comprehensive measures taken by Iraq signal a determination to address these challenges and bolster the integrity of its financial system. ntage of the Iraqi economy to raise and move money for illicit activity.