ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – A video purported to show large amounts of cash hidden in boxes of campaign posters after being shipped from Iran into Iraq was posted on the internet late Wednesday, less than a week before national elections are to be held.
In the video, the source and accuracy of which could not be independently verified, several cartons are stacked in a room. The hands of a male whose face is not shown are seen unsealing and opening two of them to reveal dozens of stacks of $100 bills hidden underneath campaign posters.
Pictured on the posters is prominent Iran-backed Hashd al-Shaabi leader, former Iraqi Transportation Minister, and current electoral candidate Hadi al-Amiri.
An unidentified speaker claims that there are 31 boxes in total and that the shipment was intercepted near the Iraqi town of Khanaqin after crossing into the country over the nearby Iranian border.
Though some initial media reports claim that the video was filmed by Iraqi police, no security force or government agency is mentioned, nor is anything shown that would identify where it was filmed or by whom.
The man says that he has "alerted Baghdad to the situation," and that he has been contacted by two Hashd al-Shaabi militias regarding the shipment, including the Badr Organization, led by Amiri. The other militia, Asaib Ahl al-Haq, claims the speaker, has threatened to "mobilize their forces unless the money is released."
He goes on to ask the Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi to "send forces to the border to bring the situation under control because a militia force might be on its way from Baghdad."
Hadi al-Amiri started the Badr Organization in 1982 in Iran as the military wing of the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq. Running as part of his Fateh (Conquest) list, he has emerged a leading candidate in parliamentary elections to be held on Saturday.
Neither militia has yet responded publicly to claims made in the video.
Editing by John J. Catherine