US seizes Iraqi financial assets, calls for action against Baghdad funds

21 March 2003
US Treasury Secretary John Snow announced on 20 March that President Bush had issued an executive order to confiscate Iraqi financial assets frozen in 1990 and held by 17 banks in the US, and to use the funds 'for the benefit and welfare of the Iraqi people.' Snow also called for other countries to freeze all assets held in the name of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein and his government.

The banks holding Iraqi assets are: Citigroup, Bank of America, Bank One, American Express Bank, JP Morgan Chase & Company; Wachovia, The Bank of New York, Commercial Bank of Kuwait, Arab Banking Corporation (ABC), Societe Generale, National Bank of Egypt, Deutsche Bank, United Bank of Switzerland, HSBC, Banca Nazionale del Lavoro, Gulf International Bank (GIB) and the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

The assets are to be placed in a new account in the New York Federal Reserve Bank and managed by the US Treasury. A total of $302 million of the assets are to be set aside to pay for court claims made by victims of the Iraqi regime, the Treasury said. The measures are being taken under the US Patriot Act, an anti-terror law passed in 2001.

It is estimated that about frozen Iraqi financial assets amount to $1,400 million.

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