Frozen Assets

Libya’s wealth fund LIA targeted by Belgian government, says chairman

By Sherif Tarek

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Posted on October 21, 2022 07:36

 © LIA Chairman, Ali Mahmoud Hassan-Mohamed  (LIA site)
LIA Chairman, Ali Mahmoud Hassan-Mohamed (LIA site)

The Libyan Investment Authority (LIA), which reports to the Government of National Unity (GNU) in Tripoli, has been subject to an asset freeze since 2011, when an uprising broke out and toppled long-standing leader Muammar Gaddafi, throwing the energy-rich country into disarray ever since. LIA Chair Ali Mahmoud Hassan speaks to us about the fund’s investments, legal status, aspirations, and also elaborates on the ongoing dispute with Belgian authorities, which issued an arrest warrant against him early this year.

Libya’s turmoil for over a decade has left its wealth fund largely crippled, with the violence-hit North African country, currently ruled by two opposing governments, unable to hold an election to break the perennial political stand-off.

In recent months, violence in Libya has been recurrent after the eastern-based parliament refused to acknowledge GNU, which was formed as part of a UN-backed process last year, and installed a rival government instead.

Hassan, who had previously faced corruption accusations, denies any wrongdoing, saying he’s been framed by Belgian dignitaries. He’s reportedly linked to the disappearance of €2bn ($19.4bn) from the Belgium-based Euroclear bank.

The Libyan official also shrugs off previous media reports claiming that he had been at odds with the GNU.

*All responses have been edited for brevity and clarity.

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