Bremer plans and Iran benefits and Iraq loses
Researcher Shatha Khalil
Auction foreign currency sale – the dollar was a law legislated and ordered by civil administrator Paul Bremer in 2004 and is the only auction in the Middle East,
It has been one of the biggest challenges facing the Iraqi state, distorting public policy and destroying the economy. The auction has continued so far and has been exploited by influential officials and senior officials in the political process linked with Iran to smuggle and launder money from Iraq for the benefit of Iranian economy to finance the terrorism and facing American sanctions and for their own interests.
Currency Auction is a complex, thorny and multifaceted topic, and many economists have differed about identifying the problem as a major ones and it is a new form of economic corruption associated with money laundering in Iraq, which has become a means of smuggling money from Iraq.
In the Rawabet center where it has noted in the text “According to the investigation committees of the Iraqi Council of Representatives and international reports that $312 billion dollars have been wasted and looted over the past years, the proceeds of oil pumped by the Central Bank of Iraq to the markets, and most of them were transferred abroad. This is a very large number in a country suffering a suffocating economic crisis, the situation in the state of “wealth” has reached to borrow from the IMF to cover its expenses!
Dr. Nabih Nadeem Al-Obaidi summarized in the working paper presented at the first conference of the Iraqi-American National Friendship Association on 5 January 2019, the seriousness of the currency auction in the destruction of the Iraqi economy and the extent of Iran’s benefit from it :
As he said the currency auction in the process of money laundering and recycling in favor of Iran, and listed some of the analytical financial indicators that clarify the role of organized sabotage of this auction:
• The Central Bank of the US dollar sales for the period (1/10/20041/10/2016) amounted to (408.875) billion dollars to cover the requirements of imports, while the real value of imports for the same period (61.3) billion dollars, while the value of the remaining difference of the amount (347.5) billion dollars is missing until the moment .. The question arises where it has gone?
• In 2010, the Central Bank’s auction sales amounted to $ 36.2 billion. The report of Federal Board of Supreme Audit submitted to the Secretariat of the Council of Ministers indicated that the number of meetings held by the Central Bank for Auction recorded in the Central Report (242) while it was discovered after checking the statements of sales of the auction for this period of (212) meeting only, proving that there are (30) meeting for the sales of the dollar are missing with its statements and amounts and the parties to which the dollar was sold to .. What does that mean? Where did the money of these meetings go?
• A “model” for measuring the auction on 6/11/2018 with a total value of sales (125,725,602) dollars for a total of (30) banks and financial institutions, and by adopting this figure as a default rate for 2017 to reach (45.252) billion dollars per year, while Trade exchange with Iran amounted (6.7) billion dollars, and the remaining (39.4) billion dollars are missing … Where it has gone?
• Actual export capacity of Iraqi oil from the ports of Basra increased from 2.9 million barrels per day for the first quarter of the year to (3.560) million barrels, and then to (4,600) million barrels per day in the last months of the year (2018) (according to the announcement of the Minister of Oil) with a rate of 4 million barrels a day , and concerning the export prices , the export price rate for the period ( 5/1/ 2018 to 30/10/2018) reached about (70.713) dollars per barrel. Therefore, the value of resources for the year will reach about (101.826) billion dollars.
• The rate of the sale of foreign currency (dollar) per day “amounted to (125 – 182) million dollars during the year (2018) and the minimum value of sales will total for the year (45.252) billion dollars, and thus will constitute the dollar sales of the Central Bank (44.44%) of the oil resources, which also constitute a rate of (261%) of the allocation of the Kurdistan region budget (7.1%) of oil resources, is this reasonable?
•Is not this a drain on resources and smuggling of funds outside of Iraq and sabotage of the Iraqi economic system.
• The documents issued by the Federal Board of Supreme Audit revealed – the Department of Finance and Distribution activity sent to the Secretariat of the Council of Ministers, that there are limited individuals and banks through which the process of selling and buying and smuggling of currency was carried out outside Iraq, including:
1. Al-Huda Bank
2. Al Tayeb Finance Company
3. Iraqna Finance Company
4. Al-Mithaj Finance Company
5. There are fictitious financial and commercial companies that do not have a headquarters in Iraq that carry out money laundering crimes by enabling them to open accounts in several banks.
The question … For the benefit of whom, this destructive activity continues, which is subject to the influence of senior officials in the political process linked to Iran? Iran has banking and financial institutions and covers of individuals and institutions supporting and loyal in the financing of the economy and the expansionist extension and Iranian terrorism.
The role of Iran’s sabotage and economic player in Iraq has become very clear, after the package of the US blockade of Iran, which is supposed to start the blockade of its mechanisms and procedures from Iraq to impose the encircle .
Attempts by some “loyal” politicians to stop the currency auction implemented by the Central Bank of Iraq after it has become 180 million dollars a day failed, but their attempts were unsuccessful due to their boycott of organized corruption backed by militias and armed parties linked to smuggling networks inside and outside the country. The central bank said that the checking and to verify invoices are not within the jurisdiction of the Bank, but rather within the jurisdiction of the Department of Economic Crime of the Ministry of the Interior.
In the light of this corruption and the looting of public money, Iraq has been classified for – two consecutive years – as the most corrupt countries and its bad effects have emerged on the already weak Iraqi entity. These are some of the negative repercussions that have emerged in political, economic, social and cultural life.
• Destruction of the Iraqi economy.
• Drain the central bank’s reserve of hard currency and gold bullion, which in turn affects local currency exchange.
• The growing phenomenon of money laundering.
• The instability of the economic situation, which directly affects the political situation.
• Exchange rate fluctuation.
• The Iraqi economy is subject to the fluctuations of the local market.
• The Central Bank reserve in 2009 declined to 35%.
• Loss of independence of the Central Bank of Iraq.
• The gap between the official exchange rate and the market price widens.
• Unemployment reached 39% and poverty reached 40%.
• Balance of payments deficit and low production capacity.
• The growth and spread of corruption and theft of public funds and weak social ties.
Economists, including Nabih al-Obeidi, stress the need to stop the currency auction, which weakened and destroyed the Iraqi economy, and limit the investment and smuggling of sales of the dollar auction from the Central Bank of Iraq to Iran to support its economy in the face of US sanctions imposed on it.
Based on the above, the economic expert Nabih al-Obeidi suggested the following treatments:
– Cancellation of the decision of the sale of foreign currency and the instructions issued later on, and the appointment of the Office of Financial Supervision as a liquidator to review and check the contents of the auction and settle their accounts by the Office of Financial Supervision in accordance with the applicable general and legal rules in the liquidation of accounts for companies.
-The Central Bank issued a resolution obliging banks and private financial institutions to adopt self-financing in dollars to cover their needs in banking transactions, and to cover bank accounts for documentary credits, remittances, deposits with foreign banks, withdrawals and remittances to the companies and individuals and within the limits permitted by the Central Bank.
– Strengthen the control of the Central Bank on private banks and sections of foreign transfers and documentary credits to verify the issuers as accredited companies in the Chambers of Commerce and Industry of their countries, letters of guarantee and exporters banks and certificates of origin and examination of the third party inspection to verify the authenticity of imports.
– Subjecting the accounts of private banks to the audit and examination of records and documents and financial lists similar to the government sector and ratification of it and submit the report to the Central Bank of Iraq with an exception from the law of private companies for their connections and financial transactions with banks and foreign financial institutions in order to tighten control on them and reduce the smuggling of funds to Iran and abroad.
– The central bank should provide private loans to banks in dollars through the bank deposit reserve in dollars, by linking the borrower’s bank with the reserve of the other bank (bank loan to a bank) and by informing the lending bank and settling for its account in the reserve, all these credit transactions are in dollars only.
– Taking all the observations and reservations received from the Office of Financial Supervision on the Central Bank and respond to them and discuss and take action on them by the Council of Ministers and the legislative authority.
Reasons for Iran’s fear of stopping the auction of currency in Iraq:
-The continuation of the auction contributes to revive the economic situation of Iran at the expense of Iraq by easing the economic embargo imposed by America on Iran and undermine it through banks and companies employed for Iran, whether real or fake.
-The issuance of the new currency by the Central Bank is done under the supervision of the World Bank and against the cash reserve of hard currency – dollar – a basket of currencies, gold cover for the value of the national currency issued and with statements and documents documented equal to the size of the currency and its categories and numbers after examination and receipt by a committee in the Central Bank, The currency is not usually numbered by the printing press, but it is done in the central bank and if it is done in the printing press, it will be made in the presence of representatives of the Central Bank and documentation.
-The reserve allocated to the national currency is subject to an assessment of the World Bank’s control and inspection. Thus, what is rumored about the smuggling of part of the new currency into Iran is incorrect; it represents a threat to Iraq by forging the new currency by Iran and pumping it into the Iraqi market through its agents of Islamic political party leaders and their militias who, through their real and imaginary companies, will buy the dollar from the dollar sale auction of the CBI.
-The second threat If the auction is stopped, Iran and its influential agents in the political process and the government will flood the Iraqi market with the new counterfeit currency in order to reduce the exchange rate of the Iraqi currency against the dollar as a result of the increased demand for the dollar against the decline in supply on one hand, and the increase the supply for the national currency and the reduction of the demand on it on the other hand , this is promoted by Iran inflated it for the purpose of preventing the issuance of a decision to stop the auction, and dependence on collusive banks , which will stop financing imports on the pretext of insufficient funding to create economic chaos on the one hand, and pressure on those who are in the government and loyal to Iran not to respond to the US embargo on Iran, on the other hand.
1. Reports of the Central Audit Bureau on the Central Bank and observations and reservations about the currency auction for the years 2010-2018, Registrar of companies from the sites.
2. Ministry of oil, Sumo Foundation, quarterly and annual reports of production and export and contractual prices.
3. News agencies
Translated by : mudhaffar al-kusairi
Rawabet Center for Research and Strategic Studies