Exlusive: TBI Involved in Financing Iran’s Suspicious Activities

06/02/2019 - 11:10 Published in Reports

ERBIL — Despite repeated claims by successive governments since 2003 to encounter corruption, Iraq, according to Transparency Organization, is still on the top of the corrupt countries. Many experts link the root cause of corruption to the lack of commitment to holding accountable the senior officials who are considered by the Iraqi public opinion as “above the law”.

According to the international transparency index, Iraq came on the top of the corrupt countries in the world. Out of 12 most corrupt states, six are Arab countries.

The Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative previously suspended Iraq’s membership, leading it to the 10 most corrupt countries in the world in 2017.

The monetary committee in the Iraqi parliament has supported the international transparency report stating that Iraq advanced ranking among the 6 most corrupt countries in the world. The committee has revealed official documents about smuggling and money transfer operations worth billions of dollars.

The absence of transparency in the Iraqi Central Bank and other banks, as well as lack of information about money transfer operations have flourished these illegal acts.
According to Iraqi sources familiar with economy, The Trade Bank of Iraq (TBI) finances activities and operations for militias backed by Iran, one of them is Lebanese Hezbollah, adding that TBI transfers millions of dollars to these militias.
A source, who spoke to BasNews on condition of anonymity, said that TBI is running suspicious monetary operations for the benefits of Iran backing militias, particularly, Lebanese Hezbollah.
TBI, which has more than 25 branches across Iraq, as well as in the cities of Kurdistan Region, is involved in illegal actions such as selling huge amount of dollars to some parts at a lower price in comparison with the official rates. Those actions are lucrative despite its illegality and ambiguity of the way of profits disbursed.

According to the source, TBI and its director general, Faial al-Haimas, who was appointed in 2016 by former Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, has appointed a Lebanese businessman linked to Hezbollah, as a director of the branch of TBI in Abu Dhabi to cooperate with al-Mashriq Bank known for its relation to Iran and Hezbollah. 

The source stated that TBI’s assets in Dubai have been transferred from JP Morgan Bank to al- Mashriq Bank by an order from Faisal al-Haimas, adding that JP Morgan has started to constrict its transactions with TBI due to lack of information about the Iraqi bank activities.

The source said that TBI is involved in illegal transactions and financing illegal Iranian activities, noting that TBI branch in Sulaimaniya is involved in those illegal actions also.
The director general, Faisal al-Haimas, has dismissed many of efficient, transpired and experienced directors, substituting them with others close to himself, according to the source. The transparency committee in the Iraqi parliament had called in 2017 for dismissing al-Haimas based on his inefficiency.

The source has also revealed that $200 million from revenues of customs points which are controlled by Hashed al-Shabi militias have been deposited in TBI branch in Sulaimaniya to be transferred later to al-Mashriq Bank.
The source also revealed to BasNews that $50 million of $200 has already been transferred to al-Mashriq Bank.

TBI was established in July 2003 to facilitate Iraq's domestic and international financing so as to meet the pressing need for humanitarian goods and building and reconstruction materials by the order of Paul Bremer, the civilian administrator for Iraq following the US-led Coalition’s operation to topple the Baath Regime.