No Iraqi Banks Were Sanctioned, U.S. Ambassador Says

No Iraqi Banks Were Sanctioned, U.S. Ambassador Says

Shafaq News/ U.S. Ambassador to Iraq, Alina Romanowski, declared that the U.S. Treasury will refrain from imposing sanctions on Iraqi banks due to concerns regarding money laundering.

"Yesterday I joined a call with Treasury and Central Bank of Iraq (CBI) regarding the recent U.S. action to restrict 14 Iraqi banks from USD services following concerns about money laundering," Ambassador Romanowski tweeted, "After the announcement, CBI took appropriate & swift action."

"No Iraqi banks were sanctioned," she said, "We will continue our work to improve compliance with AML/CFT regulations and digitize the Iraqi economy with our partners at CBI."

Fourteen Iraqi private banks sanctioned by the United States over allegedly helping siphon U.S. dollars to Iran said on Wednesday they were ready to challenge the measures and face audits and called on Iraqi authorities to provide assistance.

U.S. financial authorities last week barred 14 Iraqi banks from conducting dollar transactions as part of a wider crackdown on dollar smuggling to Iran via the Iraqi banking system, Iraqi central bank officials have said.

Iraqi central bank (CBI) Governor Ali al-Allaq said on Wednesday the institution was following up on the issue and he had no indication the U.S. would sanction more Iraqi banks.

He also noted that other banks were able to cover the market's needs for dollar transactions, with the 14 sanctioned banks representing just 8% of external transfers.

The 14 banks have been banned from undertaking dollar transactions but can continue to use Iraqi dinars and other foreign currencies.

Allaq said the transactions tied to the sanctions took place in 2022, before the CBI enforced tighter regulations on dollar transfers requiring applicants to go through an online platform and provide detailed information on end-recipients.

Those measures are in line with U.S. regulations aimed at curbing the illegal siphoning of dollars to Iran and applying pressure on Tehran along with U.S sanctions imposed over its nuclear program and other disputes.

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