Bankers is Mosul and Baghdad say it never happened:
“We have been following up on this question of the stolen money since the beginning of the crisis,” Abdul-Aziz Hassoun, executive director of the Iraqi Private Banks League, told the Financial Times during a recent meeting in Baghdad.
“We speak to the banks there all the time. We have been informed that all are guarded from the outside by their own guards and that nothing has been removed from the premises of any banks, not even a piece of paper.”
Reports that Isis had stolen 500bn Iraqi dinars ($430m) from Mosul financial institutions as the Islamist group and its Sunni insurgent allies seized control of the city more than a month ago raised alarm bells in the west and throughout the region, amid concern over the ambitions and growing capacity of extremist Islamists.
Iraq officials, including one-time CIA asset and lawmaker Ahmed Chalabi, described the alleged bank heist in comments cited by Iraqi and international media.
But Atheel al-Nujaifi, governor of Nineveh province, which includes Mosul, rejects the stories of vast sums of money being taken away by militants.
“Nobody until now has confirmed that story,” he said in a telephone interview from Erbil.
Not a single witness account has emerged of the ISIS members making off with any money, and executives and employees from among the 20 private banks and 15 or so government bank branches in Mosul say there is no evidence that militants stole any money from the banks, many of which continue to operate.
Reached by telephone in Iraq, Zuhair Ali Akbar, deputy governor of Iraq’s central bank, twice refused to confirm or deny whether the money had been stolen. The bank itself has issued no public statements about any theft of such a large sum.
Who knows? The Middle East is totally confusing!