$4 billion goes ‘missing’ from Yemen’s central bank

by WorldTribune Staff, May 19, 2016

Yemen, already on the verge of bankruptcy, was thrown further into economic chaos when it was discovered that $4 billion was “missing” from the nation’s central bank.

The money was found missing on May 17 from the bank in the capital of Sanaa, which is under the control of Iran-backed Houthi rebels. Financially-strapped Yemen is already considered the poorest country in the Arabian Peninsula.

Money exchangers count stacks of Yemeni rials in of the Central Bank of Yemen in Sanaa. /Reuters
Money exchangers count stacks of Yemeni rials at the Central Bank of Yemen in Sanaa. /Reuters

Yemeni Foreign Mininster Abdel-Malek al-Mekhlafi did not accuse any side and gave no further details on the missing funds.

Yemen’s government suspended its participation in peace talks with the Houthis on May 17, the second suspension of talks this month, Mekhlafi said.

“I have asked the UN envoy not to allow the rebels to waste any more time … and to make them comply with the reference issues before we resume the talks,” said Mikhlafi, who heads the government delegation.

The two delegations were on the verge of finalizing a deal to release half of the detainees and prisoners before the start of the Muslim holy fasting month of Ramadan in early June.

A deal that is on the table would allow the Houthis and troops loyal to former President Ali Abdullah Saleh to evacuate cities they control in northern Yemen and for the formation of a new, more representative government.

The United Nations estimates that more than 6,400 people have been killed and 2.8 million displaced in Yemen since March 2015.