Iraq says $150 billion smuggled since 2003

Iraqi President Barham Salih said on Sunday that a total of $150 billion have been smuggled outside Iraq since 2003.

“Government and international statistics and data estimate that Iraq’s financial revenues from oil since 2003 are close to $1 trillion,” Salih said in a televised speech on combating financial and administrative corruption.

“These illegal funds,” he said “were enough to put the country in a better place.”

The Iraqi president said he submitted a bill to the parliament to “recover” those funds and bring to justice those implicated in the corruption scheme.

Salih went on to blame corruption for hindering efforts to achieve progress in Iraq.

Iraq, the world’s third-largest oil exporter, is among the most corrupt countries in the world, according to Transparency International’s index with the bulk of the money lost to waste and embezzlement.

Iraq has been rocked by street protests since October 2019 over corruption and poor living conditions.

Source: Anadolu Agency