Syrian banks are in discussions regarding the return of Iraqi assets back their rightful owners, said Syrian Vice President Abdul Halim Khaddam on Saturday, October 25, 2003.
“There is some (Iraqi) money and some (Iraqi) demands” to recover it, said Khaddam according to AP. “This matter is still under discussion”.
US investigators said they have evidence that $3 billion of former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein's government funds are deposited in Syrian-controlled banks in both Syria and Lebanon, according to American government officials.
According to Syria’s economy minister Ghassan El-Rifai, the Iraqi funds are in personal accounts and that the total is "just enough for people to make a living," reported Telegraph. He denied American reports and claimed that the money is frozen and cannot be used to fund attacks on occupying US forces in Iraq. “The figure is nowhere near three billion dollars and we have not touched a penny,” he said. “The money will be returned to the Iraqi government when it is in place.”
A United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR), passed in May, requires all UN member states to freeze assets of the former Iraqi regime, Saddam Hussein, and other senior officials of the former Iraqi regime, and their immediate family members and cause the transfer of those assets to the Development Fund for Iraq.
The assets of the former Iraqi regime have already been frozen pursuant to the Iraqi Sanctions Regulations. In September, the Japanese Ministry of Finance announced the transfer of over $98 million in Iraqi frozen assets to the Development Fund for Iraq. — (menareport.com)
© 2003 Mena Report (www.menareport.com )