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Cablegate: Italy: Update On Transfer of Iraqi Assets

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS ROME 000227

SIPDIS


SENSITIVE

DEPT FOR EB - SALOOM
TREASURY FOR ZARATE AND MURDEN

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ETTC IZ IT IRAQI FREEDOM
SUBJECT: ITALY: UPDATE ON TRANSFER OF IRAQI ASSETS

REF: A. 03 SECSTATE 346682
B. 03 ROME 5559
C. 03 ROME 5542

1. (U) THIS IS AN ACTION REQUEST. SEE PARAGRAPH FOUR.

2. (SBU) FINANCE MINISTRY OFFICIALS CONFIRMED THAT
APPROXIMATELY ONE MILLION DOLLARS WERE UNFROZEN AND
TRANSFERRED TO THE DEVELOPMENT FUND FOR IRAQ (DFI) ON
DECEMBER 18. ACCORDING TO ROBERTO CICIANI, DIRECTOR OF THE
OFFICE OF MONEY-LAUNDERING AND FINANCIAL CRIMES (WHICH HAS
JURISDICTION OVER IRAQI ASSETS FOR THE FINANCE MINISTRY),
UNICREDITO BANK MADE TWO TRANSFERS, ONE IN DOLLAR AMOUNT OF
971,514; THE SECOND IN EURO AMOUNT OF 2,234. THE TOTAL
AMOUNT OF IRAQI ASSETS IN ITALY UNFROZEN AND TRANSFERRED TO
THE DFI SO FAR IS USD 2,194,929 AND EURO 2,234, ACCORDING TO
FINANCE MINISTRY RECORDS. CICIANI ACKNOWLEDGED THAT THE
UNFREEZING AND TRANSFER OF ASSETS REMAINS SLOW, BUT THE GOI -
THE FINANCE MINISTRY AND UFFICIO ITALIANO DEI CAMBI (UIC) IN
PARTICULAR - CONTINUE TO DISCUSS WAYS TO PROMPT BANKS TO
COMPLY FASTER. HE EXPRESSED APPRECIATION FOR THE INFORMATION
CONTAINED IN REF A, WHICH WAS GIVEN TO HIM ON JANUARY 7TH,
AND SAID THAT THE UIC IS DOING A SIDE-BY-SIDE COMPARISON WITH
ITS LISTS OF IRAQI ASSETS IN ITALY.

3. (SBU) FOLLOWING UP ON DISCUSSIONS BETWEEN THE DEPUTY CHIEF
OF MISSION AND THE UIC'S SECRETARY GENERAL CARLO SANTINI (REF
B), EMBASSY ECONOMIC MINISTER COUNSELOR SENT A LETTER TO
SANTINI ON JANUARY 20, URGING GREATER GOVERNMENT ACTION TO
ENCOURAGE BANK COMPLIANCE WITH UNSCR OBLIGATIONS. WE ALSO
SHARED DIRECTLY WITH THE SECRETARY GENERAL THE LIST CONTAINED
IN REF A. THE FINANCE MINISTRY HAD EARLIER TRANSMITTED THIS
LIST TO LOWER-LEVEL UIC OFFICIALS.

4. (SBU) COMMENT AND ACTION REQUEST: POST IS CONCERNED THAT
THE GOI IS FOCUSING ONLY ON BANKS THAT HAD DELAYED
TRANSFERRING FUNDS UNTIL PASSAGE OF A SECONDARY EU DIRECTIVE.
THE GOI APPEARS LESS VIGOROUS IN PRESSING BANKS THAT SEEK
REPAYMENT OF CREDIT TO THE FORMER IRAQI REGIME, WHICH AMOUNT
TO APPROXIMATELY USD 50 MILLION. THIS IS DESPITE THE GOI'S
STATED POSITION, CONSISTENT WITH U.S. POLICY, THAT CLAIMS
MUST HAVE RECEIVED A FORMAL LEGAL JUDGMENT PRIOR TO MAY 2003
TO BE CONSIDERED VALID. EMBASSY WOULD APPRECIATE ADDITIONAL
TALKING POINTS THE DEPARTMENT COULD PROVIDE ON UNSCR
OBLIGATIONS REGARDING THE HANDLING OF PRIOR CLAIMS. END
COMMENT AND ACTION REQUEST.
SEMBLER

NNNN
2004ROME00227 - Classification: UNCLASSIFIED

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