By John Lee.

The Trade Bank of Iraq (TBI) has announced that Salem Chalabi [Salem Jawad Abdul Hadi Al-Jalabi] has taken over as the company’s Chairman and President with immediate effect.

Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi appointed the Yale graduate to succeed Faisal Al Haimus, who has been named as head of the Iraq Securities Commission (ISC).

Mr Chalabi has most recently served as an adviser to the Prime Minister on international legal and financial affairs. He is a partner at the international law firm Stephenson Harwood, and has previously worked for DLA Piper, Clifford Chance, and Morgan Lewis.

(Sources: TBI, Zawya)

The post Trade Bank of Iraq names New Chairman first appeared on Iraq Business News.

Two individuals have been charged with bribery offenses in connection with Department of Defense contracts as part of the Fraud Section’s ongoing efforts to combat corruption and fraud in contracting on U.S. military installations overseas.

Mark Alan Fryday, 37, and Lara Jumaah Mohammed, 30, both residing in Erbil, Iraq, were charged in an indictment filed in the District of Columbia with one count of conspiracy and one count of bribery of a public official.

“This alleged bribery and kickback scheme sought to undermine the efforts of the Department of Defense to lawfully contract overseas,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Brian C. Rabbitt. “Corruption undermines our military’s readiness and affects the wellbeing of our servicemembers, and the Department of Justice will continue to work to protect our men and women in uniform from corrupt and fraudulent conduct around the world.”

“My office is committed to protecting the integrity of government contracting and in particular stamping out corruption that threatens the U.S. military and its installations abroad,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Michael Sherwin of the District of Columbia. “This indictment, and our partnership with the Fraud Section on this case, is part of that effort.”

“Contractors who do business with the Department of Defense should take notice of these investigations. This type of egregious conduct will not be tolerated” said Stanley Newell, Special Agent in Charge for the Defense Criminal Investigative Service (DCIS), Transnational Operations Field Office. “DCIS and its law enforcement partners remain steadfast in our commitment to defend the integrity of the Department of Defense contracting process by rooting out fraud and deceit of this sort, and ensuring that the perpetrators are held accountable.”

“We are committed to maintaining the integrity of the procurement process,” said Director Frank Robey of the U.S. Criminal Investigation Command’s (CID) Major Procurement Fraud Unit. “This indictment sends an unmistakable message to other companies around the world – that we will be relentless in rooting out corruption at any level.”

The indictment alleges that Fryday and Mohammed offered bribes to a U.S. Army official at Erbil Air Base in Iraq. Fryday and Mohammed allegedly owned companies based in Erbil that sought contracts to supply goods and services to U.S. military forces there. In early 2020, Fryday and Mohammed allegedly offered to pay an Army contracting official a kickback equivalent to 20 percent of the value of any contract that he awarded to their companies. Fryday and Mohammed also allegedly offered an upfront cash payment in exchange for the award of a contract to supply equipment that was due to be awarded in late March 2020.

As part of the Fraud Section’s on-going efforts to combat corruption and fraud in contracting on U.S. military installations overseas, two additional individuals have been previously charged. Roy George Varkey, 56, of Kuwait City, Kuwait, was charged with two counts of bribery in an indictment filed in the District of Columbia on Dec. 19, 2019, for his role in offering bribes to an employee of the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) at Camp Arifjan, a U.S. military facility in Kuwait, in late 2019. Xavier Fernando Monroy, the former Director of Operations of the U.S. Navy’s Military Sealift Command Office in Busan, Republic of Korea, was charged by complaint on May 20, 2020 in the District of Columbia for allegedly participating in a bribery conspiracy and lying to federal investigators.

An indictment or complaint is merely an accusation. All defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

The Criminal Division’s Fraud Section is the nation’s leading prosecuting authority for complex procurement fraud and corruption cases.

The investigation is being conducted by DCIS and the CID’s Major Procurement Fraud Unit. Trial Attorney Michael P. McCarthy of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Eric S. Nguyen of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia are prosecuting the case.

More here.

(Source: U.S. Department of Justice)

The post US Charges Two over Alleged Bribery in Iraq first appeared on Iraq Business News.

By John Lee.

A new railway line will reportedly be built between Mosul and Turkey.

Anadolu Agency quotes the governor of Mosul, Najim al-Jubouri, as saying that a team of engineers with the support of Turkish companies will start laying a new line “in the coming days“.

(Source: Anadolu Agency)

The post New Railway to be built between Mosul and Turkey first appeared on Iraq Business News.

By John Lee.

The National Investment Commission (NIC) has announced the following investment opportunities:

(Source: National Investment Commission)

The post Investment Opportunity: Commercial Center in Diwanyah first appeared on Iraq Business News.

By John Lee.

In its financial results for the six months ended 30th June 2020, Petrel Resources made the following statement on its interests in Iraq:

Petrel is active once more in Iraq after a hiatus since 2010 due to political and financial instability. We negotiated a large exploration block, Block 6, in the Western Desert in 2005. Nothing has happened there in the recent past. In discussions in early 2020, before the Covid-19 pandemic, with Ministry officials we renewed our Block 6 interest and re-presented the technical slides done by the Company on the Merjan-Kefl-West Kifl oil discoveries which remain undeveloped. We did extensive work under a Technical Co-operation Agreement on possible ways to develop these discoveries.

“With appropriate terms and pipeline access, the Merjan oil-field seems poised for early development: it was discovered, as an oil reservoir, by Mobil in 1982, but work did not proceed, mainly for political reasons.  Petrel’s work on Merjan did not suggest that the area was gas-prone. The discovery well – Me-1- was located using 2D seismic on a Jurassic reef. No reef or oil was found in the Jurassic, but the well discovered oil in the Upper Cretaceous Hartha Formation.  Recent analysis of 3D data focusses on the Jurassic seismic feature, and does not discuss the nature of any hydrocarbons in the well or the area. The Hartha reservoir in the well tested oil and water, without a significant flow of gas.

“Given the scope to reduce emissions through gas development, we should also bear Iraq’s gas potential in mind:  a staggering 16 billion cm (0.6 tcf) of gas are flared yearly (including valuable liquids), which is about half Iraq’s gas output.  We proposed gas and condensate recovery on Subba & Luhais, at various times, from 2004 through 2010, but the necessary legal framework was not then in place.  With appropriate terms and infrastructure, gas economics are also attractive.

“As lowest cost oil producer Iraq is well poised to benefit from the development of the oil market. Their output can easily double in size.

(Source: Petrel Resources)

The post Petrel Resources updates on Iraq Interests first appeared on Iraq Business News.

By John Lee.

Iraq’s Higher Committee for Health and National Safety has decided to “ban the entry into Iraq of visitors  from all countries“. The move is an attempt to combat the coronavirus (Covid-19).

This will create problems for religious pilgrims hoping to attend the Shi’ite Muslim gathering of Arbaeen, held in early October, which would normally bring millions of people to the holy city of Kerbala.

According to Iran’s Tasnim news agency, Iraq’s Ambassador to Iran, Nasir Abdul Muhsin, confirmed that no foreign pilgrim will be permitted to visit Iraq for this year’s mourning rituals marking Arbaeen.

(Sources: Govt of Iraq, Tasnim)

The post Iraq Bans Foreign Arbaeen Pilgrims over COVID-19 Fears first appeared on Iraq Business News.

By John Lee.

France has proposed the opening of a branch of the French Development Agency (Agence française de développement, AFD) in Baghdad.

The idea was discussed at a meeting between the Head of Iraq’s Europe Department, Ali Shamran, and Abdel Nour Barhami, the economic advisor at the French embassy in Baghdad.

(Source: Ministry of Foreign Affairs)

The post French Development Agency may open office in Baghdad first appeared on Iraq Business News.

By John Lee.

Iraq’s Ministry of Agriculture has reportedly announced that it will export barley for the first time.

A ministry spokesman told Shafaaq News Agency that 700,000 tons of barley will be auctioned next week, with ten countries expressing an interest in bidding.

(Source: Shafaaq)

The post Iraq to Export Barley for the First Time first appeared on Iraq Business News.

Foreign Minister Renews Call for European Commission to Remove Iraq from List of High-risk Countries in Terrorist Financing and Money Laundering

Foreign Minister Mr. Fuad Hussein has met with Mr. Josep Borrell, the High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy in the European Union, at the European Commission headquarters in Brussels.

Minister Fuad Hussein praised the European Union’s positions in support of Iraq in the various developmental fields and in the field of humanitarian aid, praising the Union’s keenness to provide political and economic support to Iraq, especially its assistance in the field of confronting the Coronavirus pandemic and limiting its spread.

The two sides also touched on the meetings of the Joint Committee for Human Rights and Democracy that were held on 8/9/2020, and stressed the importance of the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement concluded between Iraq and the European Union countries, as it represents the strategic framework for the relationship between the two sides, referring to the importance of resuming the meetings of the remaining committees emanating from the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement between the two sides, which is the Trade and Energy Committees.

Minister Fuad Hussein affirmed Iraq’s commitment to the principle of respecting the sovereignty of states and not interfering in their internal affairs, expressing his absolute rejection of Iraq turning into an arena for conflict between competing parties, or a starting point for aggression against any other country, stressing the need to support Iraq’s efforts to be a factor of stability in the region and the world.

Minister Fuad Hussein also touched on the government’s decision to hold early elections next June, and its aspiration to cooperate with international parties interested in this matter.

The two sides discussed the issue of removing Iraq from the European Commission’s list of high-risk countries in the field of money laundering and terrorist financing and renewed inviting the relevant authorities in the commission to accelerate dialogue with the concerned technical authorities in Iraq in order to complete the evaluation of Iraq’s performance in this field, and remove it from this list.

Minister Fuad Hussein extended an invitation to Mr. Borrell to visit Iraq at the earliest possible opportunity to discuss means of strengthening bilateral relations between the two sides.

(Source: Ministry of Foreign Affairs)

The post Call for EU to Remove Iraq from List of High-Risk Countries first appeared on Iraq Business News.

By Adnan Abu Zeed for Al Monitor. Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

Iraqi Government steps up Fight Against Corruption

The arrest of six senior officials on corruption charges shows that serious steps are taken in the fight against corruption, amid calls that the government speeds up its reform program.

Click here to read the full story.

The post Iraqi Govt steps up Fight Against Corruption first appeared on Iraq Business News.