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€10 Billion Vanished from ‘Frozen’ Gaddafi Accounts in Belgium – Report

Muammar Gaddafi walks past a painting in the office of European Commission President in Brussels April 27, 2004. PHOTO: RT/File photo/Reuters

9 March 2018

RT — Some €10 billion of Libyan government funds, frozen as part of sanctions against the late Muammar Gaddafi’s inner circle, has mysteriously disappeared from a Belgian bank somewhere between 2013 and 2017, according to local media.

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 seize the funds in 2017, it turned out there was only just over €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 SA,” Denis Goeman, a spokesman from Brussels’ prosecutor’s office told the Belgian publication. The remaining funds are still subject to seizure, but so far Euroclear reportedly has refused to hand over the accounts, prompting the prosecutor to threaten the institution with “more coercive measures”unless Euroclear releases the remaining Libyan funds “within a certain period.”

Belgian judicial authorities reportedly noticed the disappearance in autumn 2017, when the investigating magistrate, Michel Claise, who was in charge of the probe into alleged money laundering by Gaddafi’s inner circle, requested the seizure of the frozen Libyan funds. Those assets have been frozen since March 2011 in accordance with the UNSC resolution 1973. Belgium, however, has never authorized the “thaw” of these assets, Florence Angelici, from the General Administration of the Treasury, told Le Vif. […]

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