Libya’s sovereign wealth fund said five EU countries paid out money from frozen accounts in Europe that once belonged to Muammar Gaddafi, despite international sanctions.
Politico reports that the Libyan Investment Authority’s announcement is the first time an official state body has said that countries other than Belgium may also have wrongly implemented the U.N.’s 2011 sanctions regime against Libya, and raises more questions about how much of Libya’s wealth has been transferred to unknown recipients since 2011.
” Belgium defends payments of money from LIA’s frozen accounts by saying that interest accumulated on frozen funds is not covered by sanctions. A U.N.-backed panel of experts disagrees, however, and concluded in September that such payments were illegal and could be contributing to instability in the country. Questions about mystery payments from the Libyan dictator’s supposedly frozen billions in Europe have already become a hot political issue in Belgium, because significant sums flowed out of accounts in Brussels.”
“In many jurisdictions (the UK, Belgium, Germany, Italy and Luxembourg for example) the interest and dividends on holdings frozen under the U.N. sanctions are not frozen,” the LIA said through its London-based PR agency Maitland.
The statement also sought to deflect mounting questions about why Belgium decided to unfreeze funds from accounts managed by Euroclear, a financial institution headquartered in Brussels.