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

US Investors Eye IPO for China's Alibaba

E-commerce giant handled 80 percent of China's online business last year, logging more Internet transactions than US-based Amazon.com and eBay combined More

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

As cease-fire begins, Palestinians celebrate in streets; Israelis remain wary More

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

In treatment of a 12-year-old boy Chinese doctors used a 3-D printer and special software to create an exact replica of vertebra 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.
Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implanti
X
August 27, 2014 4:53 PM
A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

Israel and the Gaza Strip have been calm since a cease-fire set in Tuesday evening, ending seven weeks of hostilities. Hamas, which controls Gaza, declared victory. Israelis were more wart. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video India’s Leprosy Battle Stymied by Continuing Stigma

Medical advancements in the treatment of leprosy have greatly diminished its impact around the world, largely eliminating the disease from most countries. India made great strides in combating leprosy, but still accounts for a majority of the world’s new cases each year, and the number of newly infected Indians is rising - more than 130,000 recorded last year. Doctors there say the problem has more to do with society than science. VOA News reports from Kolkata.
Video

Video Northern California Quake: No Way to Know When Next One Will Hit

A magnitude 6.0 earthquake rocked northern California’s Napa Valley on Sunday. Roads twisted and water mains burst. It was the wine country’s most severe quake in 15 years, and while hospitals treated many people, no one was killed. Arash Arabasadi has more from Washington on what the future may hold for those residents living on a fault line.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ukraine: Captured Troops Proof of Russian Role in Separatist Fight

Ukrainian officials say they have captured Russian soldiers on Ukrainian territory -- the latest accusation of Moscow's involvement in the conflict in eastern Ukraine. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the Ukrainian side of the battle, where soldiers are convinced of Russia's role.
Video

Video Rubber May Soon Come From Dandelions

Synthetic rubber has been around for more than a century, but quality tires for cars, trucks and aircraft still need up to 40 percent or more natural rubber content. As the source of natural rubber, the rubber tree, is prone to disease and can be affected by bad weather. So scientists are looking for replacements. And as VOA’s George Putic reports, they may have found one in a ubiquitous weed.
Video

Video Jewish Life in Argentina Reflected in Yiddish Tango

Jewish people from across Europe and Russia have been immigrating to Argentina for hundreds of years. They brought with them dance music that were eventually mixed with Argentine tango. The result is Yiddish tango -- a fusion of melodies and cultural experiences that is still evolving today. Elizabeth Lee reports from the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles, where one band is bringing Yiddish tango to an American audience.

AppleAndroid