The following is an archived copy of a message sent to a Discussion List run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.
Views expressed in this archived message are those of the author, not of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.
[Main archive index/search] [List information] [Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq Homepage]
Dear list members, I have heard back from someone who has been dealing with FCO and the Bank of England for some years on the issue of frozen Iraqi assets in the UK. He writes that it is reasonably simple to obtain permission to use the accounts for visits to the UK provided that a proper application is a minimum 1-2 months in advance. Other use of the funds, possibly including unfreezing bank accounts generally, is extremely difficult, in part because of some attempts to skirt the freeze in the early days. The difficulty may also reflect very tight UK national legislation, which was written to include "any Iraqi". The Bank of England apparently maintains a deep suspicion of any use of any account, whether or not it can be established that the Iraqi concerned is an individual without connections to the regime. Few banks have a clear idea of the procedure to be followed for application to use the funds. Many applications have met failure for this reason. Most, if not all, high street banks may now have centralised such applications through their central compliance units. The RBS/Natwest system is now managed from Edinburgh and seems to work well. It is not generally possible to speak to the Bank of England directly without personal connections. The Bank seems to have received a large number of applications this year, and insists on processing the applications in strict order; reminders apparently make them grumpy. They also insist that the applications should be pursued through the bank holding the account, so it is important to make sure that you have direct contact with the compliance unit in the bank in question. It is also necessary to have some understanding of what the Bank of England can be expected to permit, and what they will refuse, since if the applications are made within reasonable parameters and properly documented, they can be processed more quickly without repeated referrals or requests for information to and from from Bank of England to high street bank via the compliance unit. Best, Colin Rowat work | Room 406, Department of Economics | The University of Birmingham | Birmingham, B15 2TT, UK | 0121 414 3754 | email@example.com personal | 07768 056 984 (mobile) | (707) 221 3672 (US fax) | firstname.lastname@example.org -- ----------------------------------------------------------------------- This is a discussion list run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq For removal from list, email email@example.com CASI's website - www.casi.org.uk - includes an archive of all postings.