Shock as Arrest Warrant issued for Fmr Iraqi Finance Minister

By John Lee.

Iraq's Federal Commission of Integrity has issued warrants for the arrest of four senior officials in the previous government, including former Minister for Finance, Ali Allawi (pictured).

The warrants relate to the theft of 3.7 trillion Iraqi dinars ($2.5 billion) from the General Tax Authority's account at the state-run Rafidain Bank, an incident sometimes dubbed the 'heist of the century'.

Warrants were also issued for the director of the Prime Minister's office, named by several news sources as Raed Jouhi [Juhi]; the personal secretary to the former Prime Minister, Ahmed Najati; and the political advisor to the former Prime Minister, Mushrik [Mashreq] Abbas.

The four are also subject to an asset freeze, and it is believed that they are all now living outside Iraq.

Allawi resigned as Finance Minister in August 2022 in protest at the widespread corruption in the country.

Commenting on the developments, former prime minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi commented:

"... the politicised recent allegations made are a reflection of a further witch-hunt campaign against the previous Kadhimi administration officials ... The Kadhimi government took the lead in exposing this corruption issue which was unveiled in full detail in September 2022."

Iraq expert Michael Knights tweeted:

"Really?! - arrest warrant and seizure against Ali Allawi? Madness. Those who doubted there is a witch hunt should be ashamed. Those who uncovered the heist of the century were rewarded by being hounded out of their country by the militias who did the heist and who now run Iraq."

More here and here from the Commission of Integrity; analysis here from Middle East Eye.

(Sources: Integrity Commission, @Mikeknightsiraq, Middle East Eye, Asharq al Awsat, Rudaw, BasNews)

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