Iraq Business News has learned of claims that Iraq’s anti-corruption bodies are investigating the contract to operate the duty-free shops at Baghdad and Basra airports.
Early last year we reported that the Iraqi Civil Aviation Authority (ICAA) and the Ministry of Transport had extended Iraq Duty Free‘s exclusive contract at the airports by ten years to 4th March 2029; the company has been running the stores since 2004.
According to a report from Al-Ahad TV, the total duration of the contract, and fact that it was extended two years before it was due to expire, are in breach of Iraqi law.
It goes on to state that Iraq Duty Free’s parent company, Financial Links, is owned by UK-citizen Ahmed Sarchil Kazzaz, who has a conviction for fraud in the United States in relation to the payment of bribes to help win contracts in Iraq.
IBN reported that Kazzaz and his business, Leadstay, were charged in 2012; he subsequently pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 15 months in prison and a substantial fine. This conviction would normally preclude contracting with any Iraqi government entity.
Iraq Duty Free has not yet responded to IBN’s request to comment.
[On 21st May 2018 Iraq Duty Free responded as shown in the Comments section below; this is also carried as a separate article here. We would like to thank Iraq Duty Free for sending us their response.]
(Picture: Duty free, from asiandelight/Shutterstock)