By John Lee.
Stuart Bowen, the former Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction (SIGIR), has claimed that between $1.2 billion [1.4 trillion Iraqi dinars] and $1.6 billion [IQD 1.9 trillion] allocated for the reconstruction of Iraq was stolen and hidden in a bunker in Lebanon, as the American and Iraqi governments ignored appeals to recover the money.
He told journalist James Risen, who interviewed him for a book, Pay Any Price: Greed, Power and Endless War, that the stash accounted for a significant part of the huge sums that vanished from the original airlift of $12-to-$14 bilion.
In an excerpt from the book published by the New York Times, Bowen said:
“Billions of dollars have been taken out of Iraq over the last 10 years illegally. In this investigation, we thought we were on the track for some of that lost money. It’s disappointing to me personally that we were unable to close this case, for reasons beyond our control.”
Bowen said his investigators briefed the CIA and the FBI on what they found, but he believed one reason American officials had not gone after it was “because it was Iraqi money stolen by Iraqis.”
(Source: New York Times, The Guardian)