Over €200m in Libyan assets frozen in Malta – “The money should go for the wellbeing of the Libyan people”
Over €200 million in Libyan government and Gaddafi family assets are frozen in Malta, as a result of the 2011 revolution that overthrew the Gaddafi reġim. These include money deposited in banks and shares in company. The information, given to Television Malta by Foreign Minister Evarist Bartolo, shows that in recent months Malta did not give way to pressure so that it gives Libya a large sum of dinars which was seized by Maltese authorities.
Foreign Minister Bartolo said that half of the €200 million belong to the fourth child of Muammar Gaddafi – Mutassim, who was the Libyan national security advisor, until he was killed in the conflict ten years ago. His heirs want these €100 million.
“Due to the United Nations sanctions that froze these assets, we did not permit this and the case ended in Court. The Libyan government wants that the €100 million do not go to the Gaddafi family but to the Libyan people”.
Minister Bartolo indicated that a decision on the assets is expected soon by the Court in Malta. “There are another €105 million…in this case it was the Libyan government who told us to freeze them and to release them when they tell us. We are ready to do this”.
He added that there are hundreds of thousands others frozen belonging to Libyans related to the Gaddafi family. Malta is being requested to release them when the Libyan government indicates so that the money is rightly given to the Libyan people.
A year and a half ago, the Maltese authorities seized containers at the Freeport with a consignment of almost a billion euro in Libyan dinars, which resulted to be printed without permission of the Libyan Central Bank, and were destined for Libya. It was reported that the money were intended for General Khalifa Haftar for the purchase of armaments during his military offensive against the national unity government, based in Tripoli. The news centre is informed that the Maltese government faced great pressure to release this money, and asked Minister Bartolo what happened to them.
“We didn’t give in to that pressure; the dinars are still here. The Libyans, for example, when the Benghazi side came here told us to give them back because they needed them. We said that we were ready to give them back when Libya is united and are aware that the money will go for the wellbeing of the Libyan people and are not directed for armaments or to pay mercenaries”.
With 95% of trade going to Libya by sea passing through here, the Foreign Minister said that the Maltese authorities did not only seize the dinars consignment, but inspections on containers for Libya led to the seizure of 400 kg of cocaine, a billion tramadol drug pills, arms and boats suspected for the use of human traffickers”.
While he described the relations between the two countries as good, Minister Bartolo said Malta speaks with all Libyans and in recent months delivered the message that it wants a single and united Libya in the hands of Libyans, which offers job opportunities and wellbeing for the Libyans and neighbours, including Malta.