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RE: Frozen bank accounts.



Hi
When the UK government froze the accounts of Iraqi's in 1990 the UK banks
went through their computers and froze every account that had" Iraqi"
entered into the nationality field of the record. This rule applied
irrespective whether the account holder was a resident of the UK or Iraq or
any place else in the world. A friend was in London at that time. The
British council sponsored his trip to the UK and he was getting a monthly
payment from the British government. His account was frozen like the rest of
the "Iraqi" accounts but he kept getting checks from the British
government!! I am told that even the Iraqi embassy accounts where frozen
which created a very big problem since the embassy used to pay for the
thousands of Iraqi scholarship students studying at British universities.
You can imagine the plight of those thousands of students whose accounts
were frozen and their embassy cannot send them money or pay their bills.
That was 11 years ago.
Below are some examples of the current application of the regulations:

1- An Iraqi insurance company has a property (and a bank account) in London
bought years ago. The company cannot have an office in London so the
appointed a lawyer to look after their affairs. The lawyer appointed a state
agent to rent the property. The agent deducts his charges from the rent and
deposit the rest in the bank account (the account is NOT frozen in this
instance) but when the British lawyer wants his fee he cannot withdraw from
account because it is Frozen!!

2- An Iraqi friend used to work FAO (the UN) for twenty years outside Iraq.
He has an account with a bank in London. His last deposit was after August
1990 from his UN post in Yemen. Several years ago he decided to come back to
Iraq. He thought that he could spend the money to buy a nice house and enjoy
his retirement. After singing contract for the purchase of the house and
nice furniture he dashed to Amman to withdraw "some" of his money in London.
His bankers informed him that his accounts are frozen and cannot get a
single penny. He pleaded with them that his money originated from the UN and
from outside Iraq but they refused. My friend gave up smoking because he
could not afford too many vices at one time with no income!

3- Last year I was approached by retired University professor some 65 years
old. He has an account at a British bank and a house in the UK. He was not
permitted to withdraw from his account to meet his expenses and to add
insult to injury he was not given a visa to go to the UK to sell his house.
He told me all that he wanted was to settle his financial affairs before he
dies!

4- Some one has an account with Midland bank, Park lane branch in London he
tried desperately to get some money from his (frozen) account but he could
not. He approached the Arab bank in Jordan for help. They advised him that
if he open's another frozen account with their branch in London (less than
100 meters away from the midland branch) they, the Arab bank in Jordan,
might conceder giving him a lone and use his frozen account as a collateral.
He did all that BUT the UK central bank refused to transfer the money from
ONE frozen account to ANOTHER frozen account both in London. The man was
left broke despite the fact that he has money (frozen in the UK) that he is
prevented from accessing it for NO reason except his nationality.

5- Many people, who have money abroad, seek medical help abroad. Naturally
their medical condition is so bad that they tolerate the tortures trip and
the expenses to Jordan. Doctors face big problems they need the money
upfront before treating the patient fearing that the patient might not
live!. The banks will not pay the money in advance of the operation. The
argument, which comes first the chicken or the egg, goes on for some time.
Many Patients have died before that argument was settled. I am sure that
their death is attributed to the sanctions


6- I am told by my British lawyer that there is no way for me to get my hand
on, even a small part, of my money frozen in the UK. Eleven years ago my
"kids" were kid. I used to please them buying them a toy or a chockalott
bar. The "kids" are now attending medical school and soon they will graduate
as doctors and they will get $3 a month!!. Now what please them is a car, a
P3 computer, a fancy dress, lots of makeup, and all the expensive things.
Dad you have the money why not spend it they say. I keep reminding them that
for the last 11 years I have been borrowing money because I cannot get to my
money. I keep reminding them that our financial difficulty is due mainly to
the unjustifiable freezing of our accounts.


7- Two years ago my father  (79 years old) visited the UK. He applied to the
bank to withdraw about 1000 pound out of his account to cover his expenses.
He left the UK a month later without getting the permission. Luckily my
brother in London paid for his expenses.

8- Some tried to have legal residency in another country or even a second
nationality in an attempt to unfreeze their accounts. I am told they very
few had success with this. As a matter of facts most Iraqi's living in the
UK now have to various degree a limitation on the amount of  that they can
take out of their account.

9-Thousands and thousands of Iraqi's used to travel regularly to the UK to
study or vacations or business. They would open a bank account when they
first arrive and will not bother to close the account when they leave
because they will come back again and put more money in the account. These
accounts belong to Doctors, Engineers, Teachers,  highly educated people as
well as businessmen, even housewives. The freezing of these civilian
accounts constituted a violation of our human rights.  Considering the harsh
realty of the economic situation of Iraq after ten years of sanctions, the
continuation of the "freezing for 11 years and counting" is defiantly a
crime that cannot be morally or legally justified.

I am sure the each and every one of us affected by the freezing of our
personal accounts will include this action in his list of "Why we hate the
west". BBC and VOA may tell us that the rest of the world hate the west
because of "our democracy and human values" and that such actions are not
intended to hurt the innocent civilian population of Iraq. Bull shit THEY
simply don't know what they are talking about. No wonder the west is under
attack and is losing credibility they believe their own lies.  I can see one
day one of those thousands will be so frustrated that he will revert to
violence and the west will have to fight bin-Dollars terrorist organization!

Ghazwan Al-Mukhtar
Baghdad, Iraq
gaz@uruklink.net

-----Original Message-----
From: soc-casi-discuss-request@lists.cam.ac.uk
[mailto:soc-casi-discuss-request@lists.cam.ac.uk]On Behalf Of farbuthnot
Sent: Tuesday, October 30, 2001 1:47 PM
To: soc-casi-discuss@lists.cam.ac.uk
Subject: Frozen bank accounts.


Hi - Colin was asking about frozen bank accounts. I am out of date with the
legal aspect but know a bit about the personal in the UK. The norm is that
if someone comes from Iraq, say for medical treament, they can draw on the
account for legitimate expenses. The 'catch 22' is that they must present
the bills and take them to the bank. To have the bill means usually that you
have already made the purchase - but the money is frozen in the bank. Even
having navigated this by a loan from a friend, say, I know of cases where
banks have chastised the account holder for expenses as being unnecessary.
One formerly wealthy man was reduced nearly to tears at having to beg for
his money to pay his bills.

Also, throughout Iraq, prfessionals, now living in desparate circumstances,
say to one sadly`I still have (x hundreds, or sometimes thousands ) of 's
in' such and such a bank in the UK. Money which could mean the difference of
life and death often for they and their dependents.

Another ongoing tragedy is that moneys seem not to be able to be
transferred. It is only by going into the bank in the uk that it can be
drawn (with receipts.) So often people borrow or sell to get to Jordan,
thinking they can go into a bank there and get a tranfer from their bank in
the UK, and then take it back to Iraq, as would be the case in the real
world. They can't.

Can this be legal? It also, it would seem sets a precedence as is happening
now re Afghanistan with people and organisations simply finding their moneys
frozen without even a court order.

Another often forgotten aspect is the huge amount of Iraqi students and post
graduate students who were here at the outbreak of the ``Gulf war, whose
fees and expenses, lodgings etc were paid by the Iraqi government. They were
literally stranded with all moneys cut off, unable to stay or go.
And by the way, the reason an Iraqi vosa has to be paid for in cash in that
even the Embassy is not allowed a bank account. An Embassy, without a bank
account??? Even in the second world war German official bodies were allowed
accounts in the UK.

But the bottom line is yet again, this is targetting the powerless. Colin, I
too have tried to talk to the Bank of England re this, over and over - it's
like swimming in treacle.

Best, felicity a.




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This is a discussion list run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq
For removal from list, email soc-casi-discuss-request@lists.cam.ac.uk
CASI's website - www.casi.org.uk - includes an archive of all postings.


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