Iraq orders arrest of former senior government officials for ‘stealing the century’ | outside

On Saturday, an Iraqi judge in Baghdad issued arrest warrants for four former officials accused of facilitating the theft of $2.5 billion in public funds. It is one of the biggest corruption scandals ever in the country.

The four suspects are senior officials of the former government, according to a statement from the state anti-corruption agency. According to an acting official, who spoke anonymously, the four men, including the former finance minister and relatives of former prime minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi, all live outside the country.

Between September 2021 and August 2022, at least $2.5 billion was stolen through 247 checks cashed by five companies. Then the money was withdrawn in cash from the accounts of these companies. Most of the owners of these companies are on the run. The statement said the four men are accused of “facilitating the misappropriation of amounts belonging to the tax authorities”.

The case, dubbed “the theft of the century,” has sparked outrage in Iraq, which critics say is suffering from corruption. The country’s current prime minister, Mohamed Shiaa al-Sudani, has vowed to tackle corruption since his appointment at the end of October last year.

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