Iraq News

Iraq's Central Bank targets terror financing

By Khalid al-Taie


An Iraqi policeman pays for groceries with a 10,000-Iraqi dinar banknote on June 22nd in Baghdad. The Central Bank of Iraq is seeking to increase the use of electronic means in all areas of banking activity and daily trading as part of new measures to combat terror financing. [Ali Choukeir/AFP]

The Central Bank of Iraq (CBI) on Friday (December 15th) announced it has put in place a set of preventive measures to dry up sources of terror financing.

These measures include "the introduction of an electronic system to monitor the transfer of funds and deposits", said CBI media director Aysar Jabbar.

The new system is connected to various financial and banking institutions, and specialised CBI teams will use it to monitor any movement of funds, Jabbar said.

Iraq is seeking to increase the use of electronic means in all areas of banking activity and daily trading, he said, adding that the Central Bank is "moving at a good pace towards minimising cash transactions".

"The CBI's Anti-Money Laundering Office is making great efforts to track all cash transactions," he said, noting that special departments in banks and institutions are in charge of monitoring those transactions.

The Know Your Customer (KYC) system is being used in banks to verify the identity of clients, Jabbar said.

This system allows banks to check the sources of clients' funds and their legal status, and to ensure there are no doubts about how the funds were acquired, he said, which helps to prevent criminal elements from exploiting the banks.

Strict scrutiny in liberated areas

Banks and money transfer companies operating in areas that have been liberated from the "Islamic State of Iraq and Syria" (ISIS) have been subjected to strict scrutiny from the CBI, Jabbar said.

He stressed the need to follow "careful procedures in this regard, including studying the establishment or banking company’s general legal status and its methods of work and money transferring, and verifying its security clearance".

These measures are designed to "prevent these institutions from becoming financing channels for the terrorists and helping to nurture their armed operations", he added.

"The CBI and the government are continuing to take all steps that allow the tracking of all financial activities and prevent funds from falling into the hands of ISIS elements or any other terrorist group," he said.

Over the past two years, he said, the Central Bank has blacklisted many companies and individuals for links to the financing of terrorism.

It has stopped the work of parties involved in terrorism by freezing their assets and economic resources in all banks and institutions, he said.

On August 8th, the CBI announced it had formed a special government committee in co-operation with government agencies to combat the financing of terrorism.

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The corrupters who benefit from the dollar rate of exchange and its low rate as compared to its real rate of exchange at the market must be punished. Where does the difference go? Also, we have to preserve the reserve and increase it rather than withdraw from it, as this will decrease the value of Iraqi dinar and then the crisis will happen. Employees and their relatives must also be prevented from taking part into any speculation. The bank also sells 150% of its dollar income, and this is a disaster. It must be dealt with by cutting expenses rather than withdrawing from the reserve. Thanks.