Central Bank discusses US sanctions on Al-Huda Bank
BAGHDAD, January 30 — The Central Bank of Iraq has provided insights following the U.S. Treasury Department’s recent sanctions on Al-Huda Bank, attributing these measures to the bank’s alleged involvement in money laundering and terrorist financing activities in 2022.
In a statement received by 964media, the Central Bank referenced the U.S. Treasury’s actions. The Treasury says that the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) identifies Al-Huda Bank a “significant conduit for terrorist financing, particularly by Iran and its proxy groups.”
The Central Bank noted that Al-Huda Bank had ceased participating in the foreign currency trading window in 2023. Despite the sanctions, the bank continues to provide banking services, albeit without engaging in U.S. dollar transactions.
“It is permitted to deal in other foreign currencies,” says the Central Bank.
The U.S. Treasury’s statement, issued on January 29, detailed that OFAC imposed sanctions on the bank’s owner, Hamad al-Moussawi. It further proposed severing Al-Huda Bank from the U.S. financial system, prohibiting U.S. financial institutions from maintaining correspondent accounts for or on behalf of the bank.
“Iraq has made significant progress in rooting out illicit activity from its financial system,” said Under Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Brian E. Nelson. “By identifying Al-Huda Bank as a key money laundering channel for destabilizing terrorist activity by Iran, proposing a special measure that will sever its correspondent banking access, and imposing sanctions on its owner, we can help protect the Iraqi financial system and its legitimate businesses.”
Earlier this month, the U.S. Treasury sanctioned Fly Baghdad under similar pretexts, leading to a halt in its airborne operations.