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

Video Experts Warn World Losing Ebola Fight

Doctors Without Borders says world is losing battle against Ebola, unless wealthy nations dispatch specialized biological disaster response teams More

Video Experts: Rise of Islamic State Significant Development in Jihadism

Many analysts contend the group - which grew out of al-Qaida in Iraq - has been rebuilding for years More

US-Based Hong Kongers Pledge Support for Pro-Democracy Activists

Democracy advocates call on Chinese living abroad to join them in opposing new election rules for their home territory 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.
Larger Than Life Chinese Lanterns Make Southern California Appearancei
X
Elizabeth Lee
September 02, 2014 8:57 PM
Chinese lanterns with a long history are lighting up in 21st century style at the Los Angeles County Fair in southern California. Visitors can see traditional lanterns that hang, but also lanterns in the shape of animals, iconic landmarks and many other objects, all created by artisans from a place in China known for its lanterns. Elizabeth Lee has the details from the fair in the city of Pomona.
Video

Video Larger Than Life Chinese Lanterns Make Southern California Appearance

Chinese lanterns with a long history are lighting up in 21st century style at the Los Angeles County Fair in southern California. Visitors can see traditional lanterns that hang, but also lanterns in the shape of animals, iconic landmarks and many other objects, all created by artisans from a place in China known for its lanterns. Elizabeth Lee has the details from the fair in the city of Pomona.
Video

Video Experts See Rise of ISIS as Significant Development

The Islamic State’s rise seems sudden. It caught the U.S. by surprise this summer when it captured large portions of northern Iraq and spread its wings in neighboring Syria. But many analysts contend that the group - which grew out of al-Qaida in Iraq - has been rebuilding for years. VOA's Jela de Franceschi takes a closer look at the rise of ISIS and its implications for the Middle East and beyond.
Video

Video Israel Concerned Over Syrian Rebels in Golan

Israeli officials are following with concern the recent fighting between Syrian rebels and government forces near the contested Golan Heights. Forty-four U.N. peacekeepers from Fiji have been seized by Syrian Islamist rebels and the clashes occasionally have spilled into Israel. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forces

A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video US Detainees Want Negotiators for Freedom in North Korea

The three U.S. detainees held in North Korea were permitted to speak with foreign media Monday. The government of Kim Jong Un restricted the topics of the questions, and the interviews in Pyongyang were limited to five minutes. Each of the men asked Washington to send a representative to Pyongyang to secure his release. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti has our story.
Video

Video Turkmen From Amerli Describe Survival of IS Siege

Over the past few weeks, hundreds of Shi'ite Turkmen have fled the town of Amerli seeking refuge in the northern city of Kirkuk. Despite recent military gains after U.S. airstrikes that were coordinated with Iraqi and Kurdish forces, the situation remains dire for Amerli’s residents. Sebastian Meyer went to Kirkuk for VOA to speak to those who managed to escape.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.

AppleAndroid