More than ten billion euros from Libyan funds frozen in 2011 following a UN decision disappeared from open accounts at Euroclear Bank between the end of 2013 and the end of 2017, reveals Thursday “Le Vif”. These funds were controlled by relatives of the deposed Libyan leader, Muammar Gaddafi.
As of November 29, 2013, 16.1 billion euros were in the form of four accounts opened by financial institutions (the Arab Banking Corporation in Bahrain and HSBC Securities Services in Luxembourg) on behalf of the Libyan Investment Authority (LIA) or its subsidiary, the Libyan Foreign Investment Company (LAFICO).
The Belgian judicial authorities noticed this disappearance in autumn 2017 when investigating judge Michel Claise wanted to seize 16 billion euros in the context of a money laundering case. Then remain on the 4 accounts opened just under five billion euros. Belgium, however, has never authorized the “thaw” of these assets, according to the FPS Finance contacted by the weekly.
The question therefore arises whether Belgium has correctly ensured that these funds are effectively frozen. The funds are still subject to seizure because Euroclear bank clients who opened these accounts for the Libyan Investment Authority and Lafico can no longer dispose of them, explains the Brussels public prosecutor’s office.
But they were never paid into an account of the Central Organ of Seizure and Confiscation (OCSC) because the bank refused. They are therefore, in principle, “immobilized”. An appeal by Euroclear bank against the order of seizure of the investigating judge should be pleaded before the indictments chamber in a few weeks. (Belga)