Some £10 billion of Libyan government money, frozen as part of sanctions against the late Colonel Muammar Gaddafi’s inner circle, has mysteriously vanished from Belgian Bank somewhere between 2013 and 2017, local media had reported.
Back in November 2013, four Euroclear Bank accounts belonging to the Libyan Investment Authority (LIA) and its subsidiary Libyan Foreign Investment Company (LFICO) in Bahrain and Luxembourg, contained some £16.1bn in frozen assets. However, when authorities tried to find out the funds in 2017, there was only just £5bn left in those accounts, an investigation by Le Vif weekly revealed.
“There remains a little less than 5 billion euros on the four accounts opened at Euroclear Bank,” Denis Goeman, a spokesman from Brussels’ prosecutor’s office told the Belgian publication.
Before the 2011 uprising that ousted Muammar Gaddafi, Libya had been a major oil exporter. To better handle the capital flow from Africa’s largest proven oil reserves of oil, in 2006 the government created the Libyan Investment Authority to invest the country’s oil abroad.
However, with NATO’s intervention in 2011, the UN introduced sanctions against the Libyan government’s assets, effectively seizing around $67bn from the LIA, held across Europe and North America. In the EU, the national governments froze only the original amounts, while the interests and dividends earned after 2011 remained a liquid asset.
Where did £10 billion vanished to?
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