Billions Of Libyan Assets Frozen
Posted on 8 March 2011 by LynThomas in Uncategorized
As As Libya continues to sink towards civil war, a ship carrying about $160 million worth of Libyan currency has been impounded after turning back from a planned trip to Libya, a British government official said Friday.
The official said the ship – whose nationality and ownership she refused to identify – returned to Britain after its captain decided not to dock at Tripoli harbor because of the unrest there. The vessel returned to the port of Harwich in eastern England on Wednesday under escort by a Border Agency cutter, she said.
A number of containers full of currency were moved from the ship to a secure location.
Britain is home to international printer De La Rue PLC, which produces over 150 national currencies. De La Rue declined comment Friday.
Britain has banned the export of Libyan bank notes in line with U.N. sanctions and earlier in the week the government announced the seizure of approximately $1.5 billion worth of Libyan currency, which was being held in storage.
As soon as American citizens fled Libya, the U.S. government froze all assets held in America by the Libyan government, Godhafi and four of his children. This is believed to be in the realm of $30 billion, the largest amount ever to be frozen by a U.S. sanctions order.
Austria’s central bank has frozen $1.6 billion of Libyan deposits and would seize any property linked to Colonel Gadhafi’s circle.
In Berlin the German government said it was freezing a bank account held by an unnamed son of the colonel, containing close to $3 million.
Meanwhile, the U.K. is also expanding its asset-freezing program to include an additional 20 senior members of Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi’s entourage – mainly top brass and spymasters – the government official said.
The total number of Gadhafi associates subject to British asset freezing orders now stands at 26, while the amount of money frozen in the U.K. – including the seized currency – has risen to approximately $3.3 billion, she said.
However, the London-based British Arab Commercial Bank PLC, the mostly Libyan-owned and largely funded by the Libyan government, is continuing to operate. The bank, which provides short-term loans and other services to wholesale customers across the Middle East and North Africa, had about 3.3 billion pounds ($5.36 billion) in assets in 2009.
The British official declined to answer questions about why the bank hadn’t been blocked, while other Libyan government-associated funds such as the Libyan Investment Authority had seen their assets frozen.
The Gaddafi family is estimated to have amassed a personal fortune of somewhere between $30 and $100 billion. Some of it is believed to be hidden in secret bank accounts in South East Asia and the Gulf.