There are at least 350 homes belonging to Christians which in recent years have been illegally taken away from their legitimate owners, taking advantage of their absence and through the creation of false legal documents, which make their recovery very difficult. This was reported by an investigation by Iraqi television network al Sumaria, relaunched by the ankawa.com website, and reported November 16, 2018, by Fides News Agency.
According to government sources cited in the reportage, Iraqi authorities are aware of the property scams at the expense of Christians and gave all the competent regional departments instructions not to authorize transactions of real estate belonging to members of the Christian component without having first verified, beyond any doubt, that the sale of houses and land is really wanted and authorized by the legitimate owners. The increase in controls has thwarted at least 50 attempts at false buying and selling of real estate belonging to Christians in recent months.
The phenomenon of illegal theft of real estate from Christian owners, registered and denounced in the past also in Baghdad, Kirkuk and other areas of the country (see Fides 23/7/2015), has been able to take hold thanks to the connivance and coverage of corrupt and dishonest officials, who put themselves at the service of individual impostors and organized groups of scammers.
The “legalized” theft of the properties of Christian families is closely linked to the mass exodus of Iraqi Christians, followed by US-led military interventions to overthrow the regime of Saddam Hussein. The scammers take possession of empty houses and buildings, counting on the easy prediction that none of the owners will return to claim their property. Parliamentarians and Christian associations in the past have appealed several times to local administrative institutions, asking to stop the phenomenon of false certifications on which this type of fraud is based.