How Iraqi Real Estate became Subject of Corrupt Dealings

He said, “Those behind these fraudulent deals have gone as far as threatening the owners by alleging that it is not in their best interests to leave their properties unsold at this time, since no one will buy them later should the owner reject the deal.”

Not only that, but these swindlers are said to be affiliated with an armed force, according to the secretary-general of the Christian Movement in Iraq, Rayyan al-Kildani. He previously made a Feb. 13 statement to the local press saying, “They have seized eight houses belonging to Christians.”

It has been reported that some outlaw gangs have been involved in these incidents. Seeking to make a profit, these gangs seize expensive properties by spreading fear and threatening owners, who are left with the option of selling their properties at low prices.

As a result, real estate owners are forced to sell under the conditions set by those benefiting from these schemes. This led the Ministry of Justice on Aug. 7 to suspend activities at real estate registration bodies. In turn, Basra’s provincial council on March 10 took measures to curb the phenomenon of fraud involving emigrant-owned properties, suspending work at agencies associated with land ownership.

A closer look into this phenomenon seems to reveal a direct correlation with the political and security situation, parliamentary legal committee member Salim Shawqi said. He told Al-Monitor, “This phenomenon began after the fall of the [former Iraqi President] Saddam Hussein regime following the US invasion in 2003, giving rise to an ongoing state of chaos, now to a lesser degree, in security and administrative affairs.”

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