first_imgNEW YORK – Iraq’s former finance minister alleged in a U.S. television report aired Sunday that up to $800 million meant to equip the Iraqi army had been stolen from the government by former officials through fraudulent arms deals. The former minister Ali Allawi told CBS’ “60 Minutes” that $1.2 billion had been allocated to the defense ministry to buy new weapons. About $400 million was spent on outdated equipment, while the rest of the money was simply stolen, he said. Allawi said the arms fraud is “one of the biggest thefts in history” and that corrupt former Iraqi officials are now “running around the world hiding and scurrying around.” He did not name the officials who allegedly stole the money during the CBS report. But Iraqi investigators are probing several weapons and equipment deals engineered by former procurement officer Ziad Cattan and other officials including former Defense Minister Hazim Shaalan. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORESurfer attacked by shark near Channel Islands calls rescue a ‘Christmas miracle’Most of the fraudulent arms purchases were allegedly made during the term of former interim Prime Minster Ayad Allawi, who took office after occupation authorities turned over sovereignty to Iraqis on June 28, 2004. When new Defense Minister Saadoun al-Dulaimi took office in May 2005, an investigation was opened into several alleged cases of corruption. Tapes obtained by “60 Minutes” from a former associate of Cattan allegedly captured Cattan talking about paying large bribes to Iraqi officials.last_img

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *