News / Middle East

US Freezes Record $30 Billion in Libyan Assets

Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi (File Photo)
Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi (File Photo)

The United States has frozen $30 billion in assets controlled by Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi and his family, in what the Obama administration says is the single largest seizure of foreign funds in American history.

A senior Treasury Department official (David Cohen) said Monday the several U.S. financial institutions have cut off access to funds belonging to both the Libyan government and the Gadhafi family. The shutdowns are part of U.S. President Barack Obama's attempt to punish the Libyan leader for his government's violent crackdown on anti-government protesters over the last 10 days.

Treasury officials say some of the assets frozen since Friday belong to Libya's central bank and its oil-heavy sovereign wealth fund, the Libyan Investment Authority. The Wall Street Journal reported that the U.S. determined both are directly controlled by Mr. Gadhafi.

American officials say they believe Libya's central bank has more than $100 billion in foreign currency reserves worldwide, while the sovereign wealth fund holds more than $70 billion.

The U.S. moves have been closely coordinated with European financial institutions.

The European Union voted Monday to impose its own sanctions against the Gadhafi family and more than 20 other senior Libyan officials. Germany went further, proposing a 60-day economic embargo to prevent Mr. Gadhafi from using oil and other revenues to repress his people.

The EU action is significant because Europe has more leverage over Libya than the U.S. Eighty-five percent of Libyan oil goes to Europe, and Mr. Gadhafi and his family are thought to have significant assets in Britain, Switzerland and Italy. Switzerland and Britain already fhave rozen Libyan funds in response to a United Nations Security Council resolution against Libya.

There are different interpretations about whether the U.N. and EU curbs should extend to Libya's sovereign wealth fund or be limited to Mr. Gadhafi and his family. For the ban to apply to the Libyan Investment Authority, it would have to be proven that the fund exists to personally benefit Mr. Gadhafi and his associates.

The authority has heavily invested in Europe over the last five years. It has assets in some of Britain's largest companies and sizeable stakes in Italian banks, defense contractors and a well-known soccer club, Juventus.

Follow our Middle East reports on Twitter
and discuss them on our Facebook page.

You May Like

For Lebanon-based Refugees, Desperation Fuels Perilous Passage

In a war that has caused an estimated three million people to flee Syria, efforts to make perilous sea journey in search of asylum expected to increase More

South African Brewer Tackles Climate Change

Mega-brewer SAB Miller sent delegates to climate summit in Peru, says it is one of many private companies taking their own steps to fight climate change More

Indonesia Reports Increase in Citizens Joining Islamic State

Officials say more than 350 of its citizens are now in Syria or Iraq to fight with Islamic State - 50 more than last month More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?i
X
Ayesha Tanzeem
December 17, 2014 11:54 AM
The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?

The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video Turkey's Authoritarianism Dismays Western Allies

The Turkish government has been defiant in the face of criticism at home and abroad for its raids targeting opposition media. The European Union on Monday expressed dismay after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan lashed out at Brussels for criticizing his government's action. Turkey's bid to be considered for EU membership has been on hold while critics accuse the NATO ally of increasingly authoritarian rule. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video US-China Year in Review: Hong Kong to Climate Change

The United States is pushing for a code of conduct to resolve territorial disputes in the South China Sea as it works to improve commercial ties with Beijing. VOA State Department correspondent Scott Stearns reports on a year of U.S. policy toward China from Hong Kong to climate change.
Video

Video Japanese Leader’s Election Win Raises Potential for Conflict with Neighbors

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his allies easily won a two-thirds majority in parliament Sunday, even though the country has slipped into recession under his conservative policies. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Seoul, that the prime minister’s victory will empower him to continue economic reforms but also pursue a nationalist agenda that will likely increase tensions with Japan’s neighbors.
Video

Video Nuba Mountain Families Hide in Caves to Escape Aerial Bombings

Despite ongoing peace talks between Sudan's government and the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North, or SPLM-N, daily aerial attacks continue in South Kordofan province’s Nuba Mountains. Adam Bailes was there and reports for VOA that government forces are targeting civilian areas, rather than military positions, with their daily bombardments.

All About America

AppleAndroid