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Money Laundering in Billions, Iraqi Official Estimates

Conflicting reports by Iraqi officials bring attention to allegedly rampant money-laundering operations in Iraq.
A customer counts Iraqi dinars at a money changer in Baghdad October 1, 2012. Many Iraqis have lost faith in their dinar currency but to some foreign speculators, it promises big profits. The contrast underlines the uncertainties of investing in Iraq as the country recovers from years of war and economic sanctions. Picture taken October 1, 2012. To match IRAQ-ECONOMY/DINAR  REUTERS/Saad Shalash (IRAQ - Tags: BUSINESS POLITICS) - RTR38QU1

Political and economic Iraqi circles confirm the presence of extensive money-laundering operations in Iraq. Weak monitoring systems and political conflicts of interest, however, prevent the exposure of these operations. These same circles noted that talk of Iraq’s role in the laundering of Syrian money needs compelling evidence to be substantiated.

Ahmad al-Jabouri, a member of the Integrity Committee in the Iraqi parliament, said in a statement to Al-Monitor that the amount of money subject to laundering operations are around “20% of Iraq’s investment budget.” Iraq’s 2013 general budget is more than $115 billion, $46 billion of which are investment expenditures. According to Jabouri, money-laundering operations make up $9 billion per year.

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