US removes Iraqi bank from Iran sanctions list

Updated 18 May 2013

US removes Iraqi bank from Iran sanctions list

WASHINGTON: The US has removed sanctions on an Iraqi bank that was blacklisted last year for helping Iran skirt international financial controls over its nuclear activities.
The US Treasury said it removed the sanctions placed last July on Baghdad-based Elaf Islamic Bank after Elaf acted to freeze assets of the Export Development Bank of Iran and cut its exposure to Iran’s financial system.
The sanctions, part of the US effort to isolate Iran from the global economy over its alleged nuclear weapons program, had banned Elaf from any access to the US financial system.
At the time the Treasury said Elaf had knowingly facilitated financial transactions for the EDBI, on which both the US and European Union have placed strict controls for its role in financing the government in Tehran.
“Today we welcome Elaf Islamic Bank back into the US financial system, and we urge other designated individuals and entities around the world to follow its positive example,” said Treasury Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence David Cohen.
“As today’s delisting demonstrates, our sanctions are flexible and can be lifted if the conduct that led to the sanction terminates,” he said in a statement.
On Wednesday, Cohen told a US Senate committee that the sanctions on Iran were having an impact, slashing its oil export receipts by $ 3-5 billion a month, fueling inflation and sharply devaluing the Iranian rial.
Cohen said the US plans to block the sale of gold to Iranians, whether the government or individuals, from July 1, and has already pressed Turkey and the UAE — both gold-trading centers — to implement the measure.
Washington expects that choking off the supply of gold to Iranians will further deflate the currency and undermine the regime.
“They are dumping their rials to buy gold as a way to try to preserve their wealth. That is I think an indication that they recognize that the value of their currency is declining,” he told lawmakers.


Kuwait MPs launch probe into Airbus deal

Updated 19 February 2020

Kuwait MPs launch probe into Airbus deal

  • The decision came after a debate on allegations that Airbus paid kickbacks to secure a deal 6 years ago
  • The parliament also asked the finance ministry to review recent aircraft deals involving state-owned Kuwait Airways

KUWAIT CITY: Kuwait's parliament on Wednesday formed a fact-finding panel to probe alleged kickbacks in a deal between the national carrier and Airbus, which last month paid massive fines to settle bribery scandals.
The parliament's decision came after a special debate on allegations that Airbus paid kickbacks to secure a 25-aircraft deal six years ago.
It also asked the Audit Bureau, the state accounting watchdog, to investigate the deal, which was reportedly worth billions of dollars, although exact figures were never released.
Kuwait Airway Co. in 2014 ordered 15 Airbus 320neo and 10 Airbus 350, with delivery beginning last year and continuing until 2021.
Opposition lawmaker Riyadh al-Adasani told the session that Kuwait was mentioned in a settlement struck by Airbus in a British court on January 31, along with the names of some Kuwaiti officials and citizens.
Under the settlement, Airbus agreed to pay 3.6 billion euros ($3.9 billion) in fines to Britain, France and the United States to settle corruption probes into some of its aircraft sales.
Days after the settlement, Sri Lanka ordered an investigation into a multi-billion dollar aircraft purchase from Airbus after the deal was named in the settlement.
The former chief of Sri Lankan Airlines, Kapila Chandrasena, was arrested on February 6 for allegedly receiving bribes relating to the deal.
Earlier this month, two senior officials of the Malaysia-based AirAsia stepped aside while authorities probe unusual payments at the carrier, as the fallout from the Airbus scandal reverberated across the industry.
Kuwait in recent years also initiated criminal investigations into two large military aircraft deals involving Airbus -- a $9 billion Eurofighter Typhoon warplanes deal and a contract for 30 Caracal military helicopters costing $1.2 billion.