The Central Bank of Iraq (CBI) on Tuesday stated that al-Huda Bank, whose owner was sanctioned by the US Treasury the previous day for financially supporting the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), will continue providing its banking services without dealing with US dollars. The bank was identified by the US Treasury as an institution of “primary money laundering concerns.”
“The Central Bank of Iraq revealed that the U.S. Department of the Treasury has imposed sanctions on the Iraqi Al-Huda Bank, attributing the reason to its activities in the year 2022,” read an announcement from the CBI, stressing that the bank did not participate “in the foreign currency buying and selling window” in 2023.
The US Treasury on Monday identified al-Huda Bank “as a foreign financial institution of primary money laundering concern,” and imposed sanctions on its owner Hamad al-Moussawi, who is also a member of the Iraqi parliament.
“The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) proposed a rule that would sever the bank from the U.S. financial system by prohibiting domestic financial institutions and agencies from opening or maintaining a correspondent account for or on behalf of Al-Huda Bank,” according to the US Treasury statement.
Moussawi was designated for “his support to the IRGC-QF [Quds Force], including through support for its proxy militia groups in Iraq,” according to the US Treasury’s statement, which stressed that al-Huda Bank has “exploited its access to U.S. dollars to support foreign terrorist groups, including the IRGC-QF and Kata’ib Hizballah.”
According to the CBI however, al-Huda Bank will continue “to provide its banking services without dealing in U.S. dollars and allowing transactions in other foreign currencies.”
The US Treasury claimed that al-Huda Bank has been “controlled and operated” by the IRGC and the IRGC’s Quds Force since its establishment in 2008, noting that “after establishing the bank, the Al-Huda Bank chairman began money laundering operations on behalf of the IRGC-QF and Kata’ib Hizballah.”
Last week the US Treasury sanctioned Iraqi airline Fly Baghdad and three members of Kataib Hezbollah, including an Iraqi member of parliament for providing assistance to the IRGC.
The sanctions come at a time when US interests across Iraq and Syria are the target of drone strikes from IRGC-backed militia groups. The group claims its attacks constitute a response to Washington’s support for Israel in its war in the Gaza Strip.
On Sunday the Islamic Resistance in Iraq, a network of shadow Iraqi militia groups backed by Iran and affiliated with the IRGC claimed that it struck with three drones the al-Tanf Garrison in Syria, which resulted in the killing of at least three US troops and injuring 25 others.
American retaliatory attacks in Iraq have killed at least 12 members of the Iraqi state-linked and Iran-backed Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF). The Iraqi government has repeatedly condemned the strikes as a “violation” of its sovereignty.
Source » rudaw