Iraq's judiciary issues arrest warrants for $2.5 billion embezzlement
Four former Iraqi government officials are accused of the facilitation of the embezzlement of $2.5 billion from public funds.
Iraq's judiciary issued arrest warrants for executors of Iraq's 'heist of the century' on Saturday. The warrants went to four former government officials accused of aiding in the theft of $2.5 billion in public funds.
A judge in Baghdad "issued arrest warrants for four senior officials of the former government", the government's anti-corruption agency said in a statement.
The four former officials include a former finance minister and staff members of former prime minister Mustafa al-Kadhemi, all of which reside outside the country, as an official at the agency mentioned.
Read more: Iraq opens investigation into theft of $2.5 billion of gov't funds
The warrants do not include the names of officials. However, according to the official from the agency, some names include figures linked to former PM Mustafa al-Kadhimi, including former finance minister Ali Allawi, the director of cabinet Raed Jouhi, personal secretary Ahmed Najati, and advisor Mushrik Abbas.
Former minister Allawi, who resigned in August last year, denied all responsibility when the scandal broke a few months after his resignation.
Al-Kadhimi took this time to say that his government discovered the case and launched a corruption investigation.
At least $2.5 billion were stolen between September 2021 and August 2022 with the usage of cheques that were cashed by five companies. This money was withdrawn in cash from these companies' accounts, and most owners of these companies are on the run.
The statement said that the four former officials are accused of "facilitating the embezzlement of sums belonging to the tax authorities," adding that they were subject to an asset freeze.
Ever since Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani was appointed in October, he vowed to crack down on corruption.
Shia Al-Sudani tweeted that this matter has been made one of the government's top priorities, adding that he will not allow the Iraqi people's money to be stolen."
لنْ نتوانى أبدًا في اتخاذ إجراءات حقيقية لكبح جماح الفساد الذي استشرى بكلِّ وقاحة في مفاصل الدولة ومؤسساتها.— محمد شياع السوداني (@mohamedshia) October 16, 2022
وضعنا هذا الملفَّ في أول أولويات برنامجنا، ولنْ نسمحَ بأن تُستباحَ أموال العراقيين، كما حصل مع أموال أمانات الهيئة العامة للضرائب في مصرف الرافدين.