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Cablegate: Prt Anbar: Anbar Holds Successful Electronic Funds Transfer

VZCZCXRO3110
RR RUEHBC RUEHDA RUEHDH RUEHKUK
DE RUEHGB #0259 0321512
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 011512Z FEB 10
FM AMEMBASSY BAGHDAD
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 6395
INFO RUCNRAQ/IRAQ COLLECTIVE
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHDC

UNCLAS BAGHDAD 000259

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL:
TAGS: PTER PGOV ASEC PREL EAID KJUS KCRM KDEM IZ
SUBJECT: PRT ANBAR: ANBAR HOLDS SUCCESSFUL ELECTRONIC FUNDS TRANSFER
CONFERENCE

1. (U) SUMMARY: On January 27, about 30 Iraqi bankers and
businessmen attended a conference organized by PRT Anbar on using
electronic funds transfer (EFT) through banks for payments.
Representatives from the USF-I Al Asad Regional Contracting Center
described how participants could open an EFT account for U.S.
Government contracts and avoid fraud during the process. Dar es
Salaam Bank -- one of the more advanced private banks operating in
the region -- described the services they can offer businesses
wishing to open accounts. The U.S. Department of Defense's Task
Force for Business Stability Operations gave a presentation on how
their EFT Assistance Center can resolve problems with USG payments
through EFT. END SUMMARY.

AL-ASAD REGIONAL CONTRACTING CENTER
-----------------------------------

2. (U) Representatives of the USF-I Al-Asad Regional Contracting
Center gave participants a better understanding of how to avoid
routine problems with EFT payments, such as incorrect routing
numbers and differing names between the contract payee and the
account holder. The participating Iraqi companies also learned that
all legitimate contract correspondence from the U.S. Military will
end in a ".mil" email address. In the past, fraudsters have
impersonated U.S. military contractors by using emails ending in
"usarmy.com" and offered fake contracts to Iraqi companies to do
work for which they will never be paid.

DAR ES SALAAM BANK
------------------

3. (U) Ammar Al-Hatim of the private Dar es Salaam Investment Bank
explained the process of opening an EFT-capable account to the
participants. He described how account holders could transfer money
throughout the world through Dar es Salaam's partner bank, Hong-Kong
Shanghai Banking Corporation (HSBC). Some of the participants were
surprised to learn that opening an account at Dar es Salaam's branch
in Ramadi would allow them to access their money at any Dar es
Salaam branch in Iraq or another country. The participants asked
questions about the ATM options through Dar es Salaam, interest
rates and fees, and letters of credit/letters of guarantee. Ammar
assured the participants that, even though his bank was private, it
enjoyed very good relations with both the Central Bank of Iraq and
the state-owned Trade Bank of Iraq.

TFBSO EFT ASSISTANCE CENTER
---------------------------

4. (U) The Taskforce for Business Stability Operations (TFBSO)
stressed how using EFT helps to reduce cash movement and therefore
decreases the potential threat to vendors from terrorists and lowers
the bank costs (by reducing movements of actual cash). TFBSO
explained how their EFT Assistance Center works to improve the Iraqi
EFT payment infrastructure, with tools such as the Real Time Gross
Settlement System (RTGS), Automated Clearing House (ACH), and core
banking systems. TFBSO also described how they work to ensure
accuracy in data collection for the payments registration process
and troubleshoot problems.

COMMENT
-------

5. (U) The immediate goal of this conference was to help USG
contractors in Anbar better understand EFT and encourage its use.
The conference is part of a bigger effort to promote confidence in
the Iraqi banking system and strengthen its relationship with the
Iraqi business community. We will continue to use the USG's
purchasing power in Anbar to encourage the development of modern
banking ahead of the eventual drawdown of the U.S. provincial
presence.

HILL

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