Money in exchange for release... The "theft of the century" settlement in Iraq
“Bail does not mean that the legal procedures against the accused will be dropped, but the case will be referred to the competent court according to the accusation article.”
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an Iraqi reporter
Monday, November 28, 2022 3:58[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]
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The new government in [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] decided to settle the " [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] " file through the principle of conditional release in return for [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] , in a step that is considered the first in the history of the modern Iraqi state since the 1920s.
The move was announced by the Iraqi Prime Minister, Muhammad Shia’ al-Sudani, in a press conference, about the recovery of part of the funds for tax secretariats that were stolen with a legal trick by businessman Nour al-Khafaji and a number of his partners, which amounted to about three trillion and 700 billion Iraqi dinars ($2.5 billion) through issued instruments. From the government Rafidain Bank and the Tax Department.
According to Al-Sudani, the Iraqi government has recovered 182 billion Iraqi dinars (123 million dollars) out of a trillion and 681 billion Iraqi dinars, up to (1.1 billion dollars) seized by businessman Nour Al-Khafaji, indicating that this amount was delivered by Al-Khafaji according to a settlement agreement that will include the release by the judiciary on bail to deliver the full amount within two weeks, aiming to allow him to sell the real estate he bought with this amount and return it to the state.
Al-Sudani added, "There are bodies within the Tax Authority and other supervisory and responsible parties that facilitated the process of theft of safe deposits, and we will announce it after completing [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] ," stressing that no party involved in this process will be excluded. Al-Sudani presented the sum of the sukuk and funds disbursed by a group of the companies involved, indicating that the disbursed funds amounted to three trillion and 754 billion and 642 million and 664 thousand dinars ($2.5 billion).
money for release
Al-Sudani called on the defendants against whom arrest warrants were issued to turn themselves in and hand over the stolen sums, indicating that the government will work with the judiciary to help them in accordance with the law, indicating, "We will follow up on any accused and recover the stolen sums. The criterion of our relations with all countries is the extent of response in recovering the people's stolen money."
For his part, Haider Hanoun, head of the Federal Integrity Commission, said in statements to the official Iraqi channel, "There are important parties in the previous government that facilitated the task of removing these funds outside Iraq, and they will be announced soon."
Economic affairs specialist Safwan Qusai believes that the government's action aims to provide an opportunity to recover the stolen funds to the state treasury, stressing the need to take guarantees in order to return the funds before the release process.
Qusai said, "The process of returning the money in full is the primary goal of the government, but it is not possible to bypass the Penal Code, which sets penalties for those who try to steal public money," noting that "there may be penalties, whether imprisonment or imprisonment, for those who do such a thing." act, and the Penal Code cannot be bypassed in such a situation.”
He pointed out that the judicial authorities, when fully recovering the funds, will take into account the imposition of lenient provisions, because the main goal is to restore confidence in the Iraqi economic and financial system. He warned that the international community would deal with Iraq in a different way if the government could not impose its authority on the billions that leaked across the borders, stressing the need for an effort to return the entire amount.
He continued, "The government's failure to fully recover the money in exchange for the thief's release will reflect negatively on the international community's view of its behavior," calling on the government to tighten its grip on the stolen money and ensure that the thief will return and not mitigate the penalty except in accordance with a legal procedure.
Legal specialist Ali Al-Tamimi revealed that release on bail is possible according to the Code of Criminal Procedure, pointing out that bail is conditional on the delivery of amounts.
Al-Tamimi said, "The release is within the authority of the investigating judge, according to Articles 109 and 110 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, because the legal article under which the accused is arrested accepts bail, especially since the bail is conditional on the delivery of the sums in question."
He added that bail does not mean that the legal procedures against the accused will be forfeited, but that the case will be referred to the competent court according to the accusation article, pointing out that this procedure applies with the criminal policy that aims to achieve the public interest according to the rule that if two interests conflict, the public interest is preferred over the private one.