By John Lee.

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is reportedly considering a request from Iraq to become a member.

A decision is expected to be made within three weeks.

The EBRD was established to help build a new, post-Cold War era in Central and Eastern Europe. It has since played a historic role and gained unique expertise in fostering change in the region and beyond, investing more than €145 billion in a total of over 5,700 projects.

More here.

(Source: Reuters)

(Picture: Acting President of EBRD, Jürgen Rigterink)

The post EBRD Considering Iraqi Membership first appeared on Iraq Business News.

By John Lee.

The United States has reportedly granted Iraq a 60-day extension to a sanctions waiver allowing it to import Iranian gas.

According to the report from AFP, Iraq relies on gas and electricity imports Iran to supply about a third of its electricity sector.

More here.

(Source: AFP)

The post US Grants Iraq New 60-day Waiver to Import Iranian Gas first appeared on Iraq Business News.

By John Lee.

The Government of Iraq has reportedly revoked permission for Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) to operate special flights to Iraq for people intending to observe Arbaeen.

The move is a consequence of Iraq’s decision to ban all foreign arrivals into Iraq, due to the spread of Covid-19.

(Source: Dawn)

The post Iraq Revokes Permission for Special Arbaeen Flights first appeared on Iraq Business News.

From the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ):

Iraqi Kurdish police arrest journalist Bahroz Jaafer over criminal defamation suit filed by Iraq’s president

Kurdish authorities in Iraq should immediately release journalist Bahroz Jaafer, drop all charges against him, and allow the press to cover and write critically about politicians without fear of detention or legal action, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.

Yesterday, police arrested Jaafer, a columnist for the independent news website Peyser Press, in the northeastern Iraqi Kurdish city of Sulaymaniyah and transferred him to the Azmar police station, where he remains in detention, according to news reports and a statement by the Metro Center for Journalists’ Rights and Advocacy, a local press freedom group.

Authorities charged Jaafer with criminal defamation, according to the Metro Center. If tried and convicted under Article 433 of Iraq’s penal code, Jaafer could face up to one year in jail and a fine of up to 100 dinars (about 8 US cents).

The arrest was sparked by a defamation complaint filed by the lawyer of Iraqi President Barham Salih, in response to a column by Jaafer criticizing the president, according to those reports.

“Iraqi authorities should develop a thicker skin and stop resorting to the criminal code to stifle critical reporting and commentary,” said CPJ’s Middle East and North Africa representative, Ignacio Miguel Delgado. “Iraqi President Salih should immediately drop the defamation complaint against journalist Bahroz Jaafer, and local authorities should release him unconditionally.”

On August 29, Jaafer published a column titled “How much longer will the president be driving the wrong side?” in which he criticized Salih, also an ethnic Kurd, for allegedly failing to support Iraqi Kurdistan amid disputes with the national government over land, oil, and the autonomous region’s budget.

Karwan Anwar, head of the Sulaymaniyah branch of the government-funded Kurdistan Journalists’ Syndicate, told local broadcaster Rudaw that Jaafer, a member of the syndicate, is required to remain in detention until a hearing scheduled for September 30, unless he is granted bail beforehand.

The Iraqi president’s media office did not immediately reply to CPJ’s request for comment sent via messaging app. Dindar Zebari, the Kurdish regional government’s coordinator for international advocacy, did not immediately reply to CPJ’s emailed request for comment.

(Source: CPJ)

The post Iraqi Kurdish Police Arrest Journalist for “Defamation” first appeared on Iraq Business News.

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.