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Shafaq News/ Today, Wednesday, the 14 Iraqi banks that were sanctioned by the US Federal Bank called for an end to the damage caused to them as a result of those sanctions.
And the group of sanctioned banks stated in a statement today, “It was announced on Thursday, July 20, 2023, that our banks had stopped dealing with the US dollar currency through the Central Bank of Iraq under the direction of the US Federal Bank. The various regulations, including the regulations of the OFAC Department or others, all in order to avoid suspicious transactions.
The banks also said: We work under the umbrella and oversight of the Central Bank of Iraq and provide various banking services, including coverage of foreign imports, stressing, "We are fully prepared to undergo auditing of all our transactions, whether from the Central Bank of Iraq or from international auditing companies, and we bear all responsibility for any abuses, if any."
The statement noted that the presence of nearly a third of private banks within the prohibition of dealing in US dollars will have negative responses in many aspects, not only on the exchange rate of the Iraqi dinar against the US dollar, but its impact will be very significant in several directions, including stopping foreign investment.
In its statement, the banks called on the Iraqi government to work with all the means available to it to remove the damage that occurred to it in particular, and to the Iraqi banking sector in general, and to provide the necessary support in order to resolve the above issue as soon as possible.
On Wednesday, July 19, the US Treasury Department imposed sanctions on 14 Iraqi banks in a crackdown on Iran's dollar transactions.
The Wall Street Journal quoted US officials as saying that "the move came after the disclosure of information indicating that the targeted banks were involved in money laundering and fraudulent transactions."
The newspaper added, "Some of these operations may relate to individuals subject to sanctions, which increases fears that Iran will benefit from them."
A senior US official told the newspaper: "We have strong reason to suspect that some of these money laundering operations may benefit, either to individuals covered by US sanctions, or to persons who may be covered by sanctions."
"The main danger of sanctions in Iraq is definitely related to Iran," the US official added.
Shafaq News Agency learned that the sanctions affected "banks (the Islamic Advisor for Investment and Finance, Al-Qartas Islamic Investment and Finance, as well as the Islamic Spectrum, Elaf Bank, Erbil Bank for Investment and Finance, the International Islamic Bank, Pan-Iraq Bank, Mosul Bank for Development and Investment, Al-Rajeh Bank, Sumer Commercial Bank, Trust International Islamic Bank, Ur Islamic Bank, Islamic World Bank for Investment and Finance, and Zain Iraq Islamic Bank for Investment and Finance."
And the US Treasury Department prevented four other Iraqi banks from accessing the dollar last November, and also imposed, in cooperation with the Central Bank of Iraq, stricter controls on financial transfers in the country in general.
In the past weeks, the Central Bank of Iraq had excluded 4 private Iraqi banks from the currency sale auction (namely: Al-Ansari, Al-Sharq Al-Awsat, Al-Qabid, and Asia) following directives and warnings from the US Treasury about these banks accused of smuggling currency.
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