By John Lee.

The Trade Bank of Iraq (TBI) has announced that it will open a branch in Saudi Arabia.

Faisal Al Haimus, Chairman of TBI said:

“This important addition to our bank accomplishments shall strengthen trading and banking relationships between the two countries.”

(Source: TBI)


Source: Iraq News

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Citizenship and Residency Programs made Simple

Advertising Feature

By Veronica Cotdemiey, CEO of Citizenship Invest.

Obtaining a dual a nationality or second citizenship has long been a significant goal for many families in the Middle East.

The constant struggle of not being able to travel freely; being scrutinized by immigration and governmental entities; as well as being a citizen of countries with political and economic distress are the main drivers that encourage individuals to consider investing in a second nationality.

There are two main approaches for obtaining a second citizenship by investment. The first way is through Fast Citizenship programs which are prevalent in the Middle East as they provide the quickest route to owning a lawful second citizenship. Countries like St. Kitts & Nevis, Antigua & Barbuda, Grenada, Dominica, St. Lucia and Cyprus allow foreigners to financially contribute or invest in real estate to obtain a legal citizenship within a period of less than 6 months.

Furthermore, these countries’ citizenship legislative acts do not pose any relocation requirements, which means that the applicants and their families do not need to move to another country in order to obtain or keep the citizenship. The non-relocation requirement makes these programs highly popular among Middle Eastern businessowners and successful professionals. These programs have a strong effect in raising the country’s GDP but it can also culminate in long-term economic prosperity through investment in housing and infrastructure.

Some of these programs have existed for over 30 years and are sought-after by nationals from all over the world included Americans. From Middle East the key nationalities searching for these programs are Iraqis, Syrians, Yemenis, Lebanese and many more who are constantly faced with travel restrictions. An alternate passport opens up an entirely new world on visa-free travel including the UK, Schengen countries, Singapore, Malaysia, Russia, China, Hong Kong. Additionally, many nations in the Middle East face political and economic problems, which makes it difficult to predict the future of these nations, and their family futures along with them. Therefore, having a second citizenship or passport is a strong contingency plan for many individuals in the region.

Nevertheless, there is another option available for investors and it is through Residency programs. There are many countries around the world that grant applicants a permanent residency through investment. Let us take Spain as an example. Spain’s Golden Visa includes the main applicant, spouse, and all dependent children, after the applicant purchases a property in Spain. The duration of the Residence Permit in total is 5 years, Permanent Residence may then be applied for a further 5 years where you must reside in Spain to be eligible to apply for the citizenship. Residents may study, work and live indefinitely in Spain and travel visa-free within the European region. Best of all, they will own a European nationality, which consequently allows them to live anywhere in Europe and grants them visa-free access to over 170 countries worldwide.

Another example is Portugal, which is a member of the European Union and also has its own Residency program. Unlike Spain, this program does not require investors to physically live in Portugal to obtain the Portuguese citizenship. The country has a high quality of life with modern business and medical facilities, which makes Portugal a beautiful country with high standards of living. The citizenship will be granted to the applicant and family after a period of 6 years, therefore the entire family will benefit from being European nationals and will be able to pass the nationality to future generations through naturalization.

To make things simple, permanent residency programs are primarily for investors who plan to relocate to benefit from living in a European country and eventually becoming European citizens. However, it is the long route towards obtaining a second nationality and their citizenship is no 100% secure as it is up to the Government’s discretion.

Fast citizenship by investment programs on the other hand, pose different advantages. They are more suitable for individuals who do not wish to disrupt their current lives by immigrating to a different country, who do not want to wait 6 to 10 years and who are not willing to take a language test.

Click here for more information.


Source: Iraq News

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IBBC holds annual Cumberland Lodge Conference

IBBC holds annual Cumberland Lodge Conference with Political, Academic, Education and Business Experts, 6-8 July

The Iraq Britain Business Council hosted its annual Cumberland Lodge Retreat on 6-8 July, inviting a host of political, business, academic and education experts to discuss the most pertinent issues relating to Iraq and its future.

The title of the conference was ‘Iraq: Domestic Expectations & Geopolitical Aspirations’ and addressed a variety of issues on regional politics, election diagnosis and the future of higher education in Iraq.

On Friday members and guests heard speeches from Baroness Nicholson of Winterbourne, President of IBBC and the Prime Minister’s Trade Envoy to Iraq, Dr Edmund Canon Newell, Principal of Cumberland Lodge, Mr Nazar Mirajan Mohammed, Minister Plenipotentiary Iraq Embassy and Sara Akbar, Founder Member of IBBC, Kuwait Government Adviser and CEO of new IBBC member OiLSERVE.

The conference also featured in-depth discussions with high level representatives from the Government of Iraq, including Dr Abdul Razzaq Al-Issa, Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research, Dr Adbul Kariem Al Faisal, Chairman of the PM’s Advisory, Dr Dara Rasheed, Deputy Minister for Construction, Housing and Municipalities and Deputy Head of Refaato and Dr Salah Hadi Saleh Alhashim, DG for Scholarships at he Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research.

Agenda & Speakers

Session 1: Present Situation in Iraq

Chair: Baroness Nicholson of Winterbourne

Dr Barham Salih MP, Coalition for Democracy, Jon Wilks CMG (tbc), HM Ambassador to Iraq, Dr Renad Mansour, Research Fellow, Chatham House, Professor Toby Dodge, Director Middle East Centre, LSE

Session 2: Iraq in a Regional Perspective

Chair: Dr Renad Mansour, Research Fellow, Chatham House

Sara Akbar, CEO Oil Serve Kuwait

Session 3: China and Iraq

Chair: Botan Osman, Managing Director, Restrata

Raffaello Pantucci, Director of International Security Studies, RUSI

Session 4: IMF view on Iraq

Chair: Gavin Wishart, Board Member, IBBC

Gavin Gray, Mission Chief for Iraq, IMF

Session 5: Partnerships between British and Iraqi Universities

Chair: Dr Victoria Lindsay, Director British Council Iraq

Professor Obay Al Dewachi, President of Mosul University, Professor Nick Petford, Vice Chancellor, Northampton University, Professor Mohammed Al Uzri, Honorary Professor with Social and Epidemiological Psychiatry Research Group, Leicester University, Professor John Strachan, Vice Chancellor, Bath Spa University

On Saturday 7, an after dinner speech was given by Dr Mohammed Jasim, Library Director of Mosul University, who gave an impassioned presentation on the progress made in rebuilding the university’s dilapidated library.

IBBC would like thank the staff at Cumberland Lodge, all speakers and delegates who contributed to the extremely fruitful discussions, and to its members, with representatives attending from Al Burhan Group, Al Nukbha OFS, Bath Spa University, BP, Olive Group, Eversheds Sutherland, G4S, KBR, Menzies Aviation, Mosul University, Najaf Chamber of Commerce, OiLSERV, Penspen, Perkins+Will, Petrofac, Restrata, Serco, Shell, TurnKey LLC, University of Leicester, University of Northampton and Wood.

(Source: IBBC)


Source: Iraq News

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GKP Completes $100m Bond Issue

Gulf Keystone Petroleum Ltd., operator of the Shaikan Field in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, has announced the successful completion of the private placement of a 5-year senior unsecured $100 million bond issue (the “New Notes”).

The New Notes will be issued at 100 percent of par and carry a 10 percent fixed semi-annual coupon. The bond placement received strong investor demand, both from existing and new investors across international markets and was oversubscribed.

The New Notes issue is expected to settle on or about 25 July 2018, subject to customary conditions precedent. An application will be made for the New Notes to be listed on an appropriate recognised exchange. The proceeds from the New Notes will be used to refinance all of Gulf Keystone’s existing $100 million Guaranteed Notes due 2021 (the “Existing Notes”).

With respect to the Existing Notes that have not tendered for exchange, the Company intends to exercise the option to redeem all of the Existing Notes then outstanding at par value according to the call option, expected to take place on 26 July 2018.

Jón Ferrier (pictured), Gulf Keystone’s Chief Executive Officer, said: 

Following our recent announcement of the resumption of investments at the Shaikan Field to increase production to 55,000 bopd, an increase by about 70% compared to current levels, this refinancing resets the Company’s capital structure that was put in place in conjunction with the restructuring in 2016. This is another positive milestone for the company and the Kurdistan Region of Iraq.

“We also look forward to updating the market on our plans to increase production to 75,000 bopd and up to 110,000 bopd in due course.

Sami Zouari, Gulf Keystone’s Chief Financial Officer, said:

“The refinancing confirms the substantial progress achieved by the Company. The New Notes considerably strengthen the Company’s financial capabilities as we embark on our next investment phases in the Shaikan field.”

(Source: GKP)


Source: Iraq News

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“Steady Increase” in the Iraqi Dinar

By John Lee.

There has been a steady increase in the market price of the Iraqi Dinar (IQD) versus the USD, according to an Iraq Business News Expert Blogger.

In his market report for the month of June, Ahmed Tabaqchali said the premium over the official exchange rate has fallen to 1.2 percent, the lowest point in a number of years, from just under 6 percent at the end of 2017 and 10 percent at the end of 2016.

FX spreads are one of many sources of revenues for the higher quality banks but constitute the bulk of earnings for the lower quality banks“, he adds.

Read Ahmed Tabaqchali’s full report here.


Source: Iraq News

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Iraq no longer subject to FATF Monitoring

By John Lee.

The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) has congratulated Iraq for the significant progress made in addressing the strategic deficiencies in the areas of anti money laundering (AML) and countering the financing of terrorism (CFT) identified earlier by the FATF and included in its action plan.

Iraq will no longer be subject to the FATF’s monitoring under its on-going global AML/CFT compliance process, and will work with their FATF-Style Regional Bodies MENAFATF (Iraq) as it continues to further strengthen its AML/CFT regime.

(Source: FATF)


Source: Iraq News

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