Allegations that revenue from Ibrahim Khalil, the lucrative border crossing between Iraqi Kurdistan and Turkey, was funneled to a Kurdish leader instead of the government has set off a firestorm in the region.
In an interview with the Kurdish satellite channel Naliya last month, Sayid Akram, former director of the Ibrahim Khalil security department from 2000-2006, claimed that none of the customs revenue was given to the treasury of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) but was instead taken to the office of the then-regional Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani. Barzani is currently the deputy of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and is considered the favorite to become the region’s prime minister next year.
The Ibrahim Khalil trade center filed a lawsuit against Akram after the allegations were made, and Akram was sent to prison in the border town of Zakho. He was released after activists campaigned for his freedom.