The exiled former head of the Trade Bank of Iraq (TBI), Hussein Al-Uzri [Hussein al-Azri], has denied allegations of corruption and mis-management in a telephone interview with Reuters.
"It's about control of this bank," the U.S.-educated banker, aged 48, told the news agency in his first media interview since fleeing Iraq. "Having control of the bank gives them control of substantial assets and they can basically utilize it."
For his own security, he did not want to say from which country he was speaking.
A top Maliki aide, cabinet general secretary Ali al-Alaq, has said authorities moved against the bank because its leadership was suspected of violating banking regulations and issuing improperly secured loans. Alaq said the irregular practices had cost the country "millions of dollars."
But Sir Claude Hankes, a British adviser to TBI’s board, has written an open letter to Iraqi President Jalal Talabani saying that the charges are simply a political ploy to give Prime Minister Nouri Al-Malik control of the bank.
The full text of Sir Claude's letter follows: