In March 2003, on several occasions beginning on March 18, the day before the United States began bombing Baghdad, nearly US$1 billion was stolen from the Central Bank of Iraq. This is considered the largest bank heist in history.
Approximately $650 million was later found hidden in walls in Saddam Hussein‘s palace by US troops. It is believed that this was the bulk of the stolen money. The remaining money is currently unaccounted for. Diyaa Habib al-Khayoun, general manager of the state-owned al-Rafidain Bank, claims that $250 million and 18 billion now worthless Iraqi dinars were also stolen, but by professional robbers unconnected to Saddam.
In March 2003, a hand-written note surfaced, signed by Saddam, ordering $920 million to be withdrawn and given to his son Qusay. Bank officials state that Qusay and another unidentified man oversaw the cash, boxes of $100 bills, being loaded into trucks during a five hour operation. Qusay was later killed by US troops in a firefight.
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