Following Thursday’s raid on the offices of the Trade Bank of Iraq (TBI), CNBC reports that Iraqi authorities have issued an arrest warrant for the head of the bank, which is under investigation for alleged irregularities.
An Iraqi government source said Hussein al-Uzri, president and chairman of the bank, had fled to Lebanon. He reportedly did not answer calls to his mobile phone.
Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki ordered a judicial inquiry into TBI on Thursday, after a committee including officials from Iraq’s anti-corruption commission and audit authority reported “violations” at the institution.
The move comes as Maliki faces growing discontent over rampant corruption and poor public services in oil-exporting Iraq, which prompted protests against his fragile coalition government earlier this year.
Sir Claude Hankes, a British advisor to TBI’s board told Reuters on Sunday that the investigation was politically-motivated and that the bank had been resisting government pressure to engage in “highly dubious and irregular” operations.
He said the investigation could damage Iraq’s ties with the international banking community, adding that Uzri was “safe” outside Iraq but was “not in Lebanon.”
Please click here to read details of the raid.