[ltr]2023.03.05 - 21:36[/ltr]
Baghdad - people
The American New York Times said, on Sunday, that reducing illegal flows of dollars creates unintended hardships for some Iraqis, adding that “the regulations aim to prevent transfers of dollars to corrupt parties, but they end up harming ordinary Iraqis who need the American currency for legitimate purposes.” ".
And the newspaper stated in a report it had, followed by “NAS” (March 5, 2023), that when the United States and Iraq recently put new strict international banking rules into effect, the intention was to stop the illegal flow of dollars to criminal actors and money launderers, including those who They help groups in Iran and Syria. But in a country with a primarily cash economy, the changes have created unintended hardships for ordinary Iraqis who need dollars to travel abroad. The demand for the dollar increased and the cost of the Iraqi dinar rose with some local currency dealers.
The newspaper stated that the new rules, which were established in an agreement between the United States and Iraq, require greater transparency regarding transfers of dollars held as foreign currency reserves for Iraq in an account at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. The agreement was part of a long-delayed modernization of the Iraqi financial system as it began to conform to the rules followed by most countries and adapt to the requirements of greater transparency in international financial transactions.
However, the newspaper added: Some Iraqi and other merchants who used to pay in dollars via international wire transfers were unable or unwilling to meet the stricter transparency requirements. Therefore, they turn to the money changers, which leads to an increase in the demand for the dollar in the Iraqi street, which leads to a rise in the price of the dinar.
And the American newspaper stated: The Central Bank of Iraq facilitates every day wire transfers from its account at the Federal Reserve Bank in New York on behalf of Iraqi companies and individuals to pay for goods from outside Iraq. Remittances are crucial because few companies have international bank accounts. Separately, a sum of cash is sent to the Central Bank of Iraq, intended for currency exchange and banks to distribute in bulk to Iraqis traveling abroad.
Until the new rules were put into place, there was little electronic fingerprinting to help US officials track whether some transfers would end up in the hands of criminal actors.
The newspaper gave an example: An Iraqi party may request that a bank transfer in dollars be sent to a bank in another country, such as the United Arab Emirates, to pay for goods that are imported into Iraq. But the account is in the UAE. It could also be used to move dollars out of Iraq for money laundering or supplying a sanctioned party. So more information was needed to confirm the legitimacy of these transactions.
The newspaper also pointed out that concerns about dollars getting into the wrong hands date back to after the US invasion of Iraq in 2003. At that time, US authorities were primarily concerned about cash transfers, but the US Treasury later turned its attention increasingly to wire transfers.
It stated that the Treasury Department wanted to ensure that dollars sent via the cables were not sent in violation of US law to fronts or agents of sanctioned parties or criminal entities. In congressional testimony in 2016, for example, a senior Treasury official pointed to three groups targeted by sanctions known to be active in Iraq: al-Qaeda, ISIS, and the Iran-backed Lebanese militia Hezbollah.
According to the newspaper's information, under the new regulations, both individuals and companies who request wire transfers in dollars must disclose their identity and the identity of the person who finally gets the money. This information is then reviewed by an electronic system as well as experts at the Central Bank of Iraq and the Federal Reserve Board of New York prior to payment.
The new system allows banks around the world to perform automatic checks on money transfers from Iraq to other countries, said Ahmad Tabakashli, chief strategist for Asia Frontier Capital Iraq Fund.
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