“Theft of the Century” .. Secrets that have not yet been revealed about the looting of Iraq’s billions

While investigations and trials are still going on in Iraq, about what was described as “theft of the century”, Many Iraqis do not expect it to reach reassuring results, and “big heads”, but many of them expect it to stop at “officials from the lower ranksAs is customary in countries where corruption ravages many of their institutions.

After the issue of the theft of nearly two and a half billion dollars in tax revenues shook the Iraqi street, many of its secrets are still undisclosed.

However, identical information, letters, and government documents dating back to October of 2021 revealed something new.

It turns out that this massive looting was facilitated by the highest authorities and some pro-Iranian parties, which have influence in the Ministry of Finance and its affiliated institutions.

One of those involved in theft of the century file

dummy companies

While the preparations for it began in October of last year, while the country was preoccupied with the legislative elections, when the scrutiny was “formally” lifted, by a representative government decision, on withdrawals from those revenues.

He siphoned off $2.5 billion in tax money by shell companies with virtually no paper evidence, and with the help of corrupt senior officials, a 41-page internal investigation shows.

This report also showed that the looted money was laundered through the purchase of real estate in the richest neighborhoods in Baghdad.

An influential businessman and Iranian faction

As for the mastermind of this scheme, he is an influential businessman, with good connections with employees of the Tax Commission, who enjoys the support of the “Badr” faction or organization allied with Iran, according to what was reported by the British newspaper, “The Guardian”.

However, a theft of this magnitude undoubtedly also took place with the knowledge of a wide range of institutions, including the bank that authorized the withdrawals (the governmental Rafidain Bank), the Integrity Commission and the Central Bank, according to leaked documents and interviews with more than dozens of officials, businessmen and bankers well-informed. the case.

From Baghdad (AFP)

From Baghdad (AFP)

In this context, a former member of the Finance Committee of the Iraqi Parliament, who like others refused to disclose his name, for fear of reprisals, said, “It is a large network behind which senior politicians from powerful entities stand leading the country.”

He also considered that “the heads of departments cannot steal such sums on their own.”

While it was reported that a proposal by the former head of the Finance Committee in the House of Representatives, Haitham al-Jubouri, recommends ending the audit room’s role in examining withdrawals from the accounts of the Tax Revenue Authority, due to the presence of “many complaints” about the lengthy procedures, which preceded this looting.

warning sign

Commenting, the former member of the Finance Committee believed that the proposal to cancel the audit should have been a warning sign for the administration, which promised to fight corruption, but instead, both the Audit Bureau and the office of former Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kazemi issued a letter in which they did not object.

As for the practical implementation of the theft, according to four sources within the Ministry of Finance, it depends on accomplices within the Tax Commission who have the authority to sign checks.

As these sources claimed that this network was established by the former director of the Ministry of Finance, Sh.

According to seven other sources, this former director was backed by the Badr Organization, which is allied with Iran and controls senior appointments to the tax and customs committees.

It is noteworthy that this case was reported to the media only in mid-October, sparking widespread controversy in the oil-rich country, which suffers from chronic corruption, which constitutes one of the most complex files facing any government.

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