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Govts Prepare To Hand Over Gaddafi's $168 Billion Frozen Assets To Libya

London, Oct 22: Slain Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi's death has raised the question of what will happen to the missing billions he siphoned off and deposited around the world, says a report.The fallen dictator is

PTI [ Updated: October 22, 2011 9:47 IST ]
govts prepare to hand over gaddafi s 168 billion frozen
govts prepare to hand over gaddafi s 168 billion frozen assets to libya

London, Oct 22: Slain Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi's death has raised the question of what will happen to the missing billions he siphoned off and deposited around the world, says a report.


The fallen dictator is believed to have had around $168 billion in assets abroad, most of which has been frozen since the start of the year.

The stash includes a string of plush properties, valuable real estate and shares in multinational companies.

Most of the assets were channeled by the Libyan Central Bank and Libyan Investment Authority, the £60 billion sovereign wealth fund the Gaddafi family is believed to have used as a private bank account.

A significant amount is still in the hands of surviving members of the deposed tyrant's family, and could be used to fund insurgents in the newly liberated Libya. Sums are likely to be in neighbouring countries like Algeria, which are being used as safe havens for Gaddafi's wife and grown-up children, and grandchildren.



Reports said members of the Gaddafi family who fled to Algeria were carrying gold bars.

In the UK alone, Gaddafi's family owned a £11 million house in Hampstead, north London, and a range of shops and offices in the city's West End.

The palatial neo-Georgian townhouse was used by the tyrant's son Saif al-Islam Gaddafi before it was taken over by squatters in March.

It has a swimming pool and suede-lined cinema room and was purchased in 2009 - but its future is now uncertain.

The regime also owned Portman House, a 146,550 sq ft retail complex in Oxford Street, London, which houses retailers such as Boots and New Look, and an office at 14 Cornhill, opposite the Bank of England in the City.In Spain, Gaddafi's Libyan Arab Foreign Bank bought a 7,065-hectare (17,450-acre) property on the Costa del Sol in Andalucia in 1995.

The Libyan Arab Foreign Bank, which is owned by Libya's central bank, had tried to build an 18-hole golf course and about 2,000 homes on the land.

Another property owned by Gaddafi in the regime's name was a plush estate called Thunder Rock in Englewood, New Jersey.

The Government has also held £12 billion deposited in UK banks.

The U.S. has frozen £20 billion, Italy £6 billion, Canada £2.4 billion, Austria £1.66 billion and £680 million in Switzerland.

Among Gaddafi's investments via the Libya Central Bank are a 3 per cent stake in Pearson Plc, publisher of the Financial Times.

Gaddafi also had an impressive portfolio in Italy with shares worth 7.5 per cent of Juventus, 2 per cent of Finmeccanica SpA, Italy's biggest defense company, and 4 per cent stake of UniCredit SpA, Italy's biggest bank.



Since formally recognising Libya's National Transitional Council, the U.S. government has begun the process of handing back the war torn country's assets.

In August the United Nations Security Council approved an immediate infusion of $1.5 billion that the U.S. had seized.

Officials said the money was urgently needed to provide basic services, especially electricity.

GADDAFI'S PROPERTIES
•    $5.5 million estate in Englewood, New Jersey, bought in 1982 for $1 million
•    £11 million mansion in Hampstead, north London, bought in 2009
•    Portman House, in London's Oxford Street, bought for £155 million in July 2009
•    14 Cornhill, opposite the Bank of England, bought in December 2008 for £120 million

A 7,065-hectare property on the Costa del Sol bought two decades ago. Since then billions have been unfrozen by countries around the world. However so far that has not run smoothly.

With so much uncertainty over the governance of Libya, questions have been asked over whither it should go directly to the NTC or instead by used for humanitarian needs. And some countries, such as South Africa, have resisted the call to give Libya's billions back.

Investigators around the world will be powerless to find much of the wealth because it will be hidden away with intermediaries and in secret accounts, said France-based Libyan financial analyst Mohammed Haraba.

‘The Gaddafis spent years doing what super rich people all over the world do – they hide it,' said Haraba.

‘It will be in western financial institutions but also in the hands of those who run former allied countries like Algeria, Syria, and even Zimbabwe.

‘The great fear is that survivors from the Gaddafi ruling elite, including members of the family, will be able to get hold of the money so as to fund revolutionary activity in Libya.'

Haraba said it was likely the new Libyan regime would look to freeze all of the known assets of the Gaddafi family, as the new government in neighbouring Egypt did of Mubarak's assets.

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