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Counterfeit currency threatens Diyala and the nation

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Counterfeitcurrency threatens Diyala and the nation

21/02/2012 16:35

DIYALA, Feb. 21 (AKnews) - Traders and economists arealarmed at the increasing spread of counterfeit currency in local marketsthreatening regional and national economies. AKnewstalks to shop owners andspecialists in Diyala to find out their thoughts on the issue.

Calls to the government and economic bodies to tacklecounterfeit currency has been growing amid fears for the country's economy, thedriving up of domestic prices and leaving ordinary citizens out of pocket.

Some currency exchange owners have been able to avoidfalling victim to fake cash notes. Wissam al-Tai, the 45-year-old banking shopowner in Baquba told AKnews: "The counterfeit currency is usually 5,000and 10,000 dinars and it can be distinguished easily if well examined."

However, the average customer is not so lucky. "Thefake local currencies are printed in an accurate way using specialized printingpresses, and this make it difficult for ordinary people to discover iteasily," explains economist Maher al-Daoudi.

Like Tai, many traders have their own theories about themotives behind the fake money so pervasive in local markets. "One of theneighboring countries is responsible for the fake currency in order to createconfusion in the economic situation," he says.

Saleh al-Tamimi, 33, who works in one of the money exchangeshops in the Khalis city, agrees: "There might be gangs from outside theprovince seeking to destroy the economy with the support and funding of aforeign party."

It seems there may be some truth to the shop workers'beliefs as some experts have made links between the fraudulent money andneighboring countries, such as Iran, supposedly aiming to weaken the Iraqicurrency and economy, but also terrorist groups in need of funding.

Fouad al-Bayati, a specialist in security affairs, believesthat al-Qaeda are involved in counterfeiting the currency throughadministrative regulations scattered inside and outside the country.

"The security forces are hunting insurgents andforgetting about the fraud gangs associated with them, which is a key financierfor insurgents," says Bayati.

"Some armed groups still have administrative wings, whoare difficult to find, to carry out duties in the economic sector, most notablymoney laundering as well as falsifying identities and official documents."

Traders like Tai and Tamimi want the authorities to formspecialized teams to withdraw the counterfeit money and punish thoseresponsible.

The government has made attempts in the past to stem thewaves of counterfeit US and Iraqi currency flooding the country. Diyala policehave distributed warning bulletins about the difference between real andcounterfeit currency and how to detect them.

It is also hoped that the introduction early next year ofnew currency minus the three zeroes, by the Central Bank will replace not onlythe old notes but also the counterfeit currency.

Daoudi warns that the problem of counterfeit currency willgrow due to the lack of programs and plans to pursue counterfeiters of currencyin Diyala and other provinces.

By Mahmoud al-Jabbouri


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Sara, and all this time I was told that the new Iraqi notes were very to almost imposible to counterfeit because of all the processes with the thread, horse head etc. Guess they have some outstanding presses across the pond. Good read

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