Asharq Al-awsat English Middle-east and International News and Opinion from Asharq Al-awsat Newspaper

Libya Launches Campaign in Search of Gaddafi’s Frozen Assets

Libya Launches Campaign in Search of Gaddafi’s Frozen Assets

Saturday, 24 November, 2018 - 07:15
Late Libyan leader Moammar al-Gaddafi. (Reuters)

Libyan diplomats, politicians and academics called on Thursday the United Nations Security Council to act to save Libyan assets that have been frozen in foreign accounts since the toppling of the regime of ruler Moammar al-Gaddafi in 2011.

The move was an attempt to ease concerns that the interests on these assets were being used to fund militias in Libya.

More than 100 Libyan figures, including former Ambassador to the UN Ibrahim al-Dabbashi, signed a document, urging the UN to assume its responsibilities and safeguard the funds.

They said that they were following with concern official statements on the disappearance of several billions of interests on frozen assets in Belgian banks over the past five years.

They said they were committed to Security Council resolutions on preserving those interests, calling on the concerned sanctions committee to take the necessary measures in this regard.

News of the abuse of the interests emerged in November when Libyan officials demanded that Belgian authorities reveal the fate of interests and dividends on accounts frozen under UN sanctions in 2011 amid reports that Brussels had financed Libyan militias from these funds.

Belgian media said at the time that up to 5 billion euros ($5.7 billion) could have been disbursed to people controlling Libyan accounts, including militia groups in the country accused of human rights abuses.

The development sparked uproar in Libya.

MP Ali al-Saeedi al-Qayedi told Asharq Al-Awsat that this issue will be discussed at parliament. He revealed that he will demand the formation of an investigation committee to tackle the case.

He added that the funds were used to finance the extremist “Fajr Libya” group that first emerged in July 2014.

Belgium’s Le Vif weekly revealed that Belgian authorities have opened an investigation into the disappearance of up to 10 billion euros in interests on frozen Libyan assets that belonged to Gaddafi. The majority of the funds were deposited in the Euroclear Bank and were frozen between 2012 and 2017.

MP Mohammed Amer al-Abani indirectly blamed the Government of National Accord for the loss of the funds, saying it was attributed to “the rampant corruption in government institutions given that it was imposed by the Security Council.”

The best way to preserve the assets is to hold elections and dissolving councils, supporting the armed forces and disbanding and disarming militias, he told Asharq Al-Awsat.

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