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President: $150bn smuggled from Iraq since 2003

May 24, 2021 at 9:25 am

Iraqi President Barham Salih during a press conference in Baghdad, Iraq on September 02, 2020 [Murtadha Al-Sudani/Anadolu Agency]

Iraqi President Barham Salih revealed yesterday that nearly $150 billion has been smuggled out of the country since 2003, adding that he had prepared a bill to recover the smuggled funds, Anadolu reported.

“Government and international statistics and data estimate that Iraq’s financial revenues from oil since 2003 are close to $1 trillion,” Salih said in a televised speech on combating financial and administrative corruption.

“These illegal funds were enough to put the country in a better place,” he added.

The Iraqi president explained that he had submitted a bill to parliament to recover the smuggled funds, hold the corrupt accountable and bring them to justice.

READ: Iraq recovers thousands of smuggled artefacts

“The bill also includes support for financial and oversight institutions and activating their tools,” Salih said, adding that “corruption has disrupted the people’s will to progress.”

Transparency International ranks Iraq among the most corrupt countries in the world.