Basra governor flees to Iran amid corruption probe

The governor of Basra has fled Iraq to Iran hours after he resigned amid a corruption investigation.

Majid Al Nasrawi said on Thursday he would stand down after a travel ban was issued against him as part of the probe.

He is facing corruption charges, which also implicate his son, linked to contracts for projects to build and improve services in the city.

Iraqi media said Mr Al Nasrawi crossed into Iran through the Al Shalamija border post on Friday.

He said he fled the country because he did not trust the judiciary, the reports said. He said there were attempts to terrorise his employees into testifying against him and that he had received threats after his resignation

“I ask all the people of Basra to clear my name of these allegations, so that I can return to my duty,” he said earlier on Thursday, when he announced his resignation at the opening of a new bridge.

He said he had left the position because he was a victim to pressure from those “associated with political factions”.

He promised to cooperate with a parliamentary commission set by the Iraqi prime minister to investigate the corruption allegations and denied any wrong doing. But hours after announcing his resignation, he slipped across the border controlled by Shiite militias.

Mr Al Nasrawi was placed under a travel ban until the parliamentary investigation was completed.

The member of the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq party, has been governor of Basra province since June 2013.

He has Australian citizenship and is close to the cleric and political leader Ammar Al Hakim.