Former Libyan diplomat reveals 'Gaddafi's billions' in Canadian bank accounts

Alwasat - Cairo Wed 09 Aug 2023, 07:57 PM
alwasat radio

The former Libyan ambassador to Canada, Fathi Baja, revealed to The Globe and Mail newspaper that he kept confidential documents containing financial details about billions deposited in Canadian banks for Muammar Gaddafi, after he was fired from the post.

Baja, who served as Libya’s ambassador to Canada from 2013 to 2017, citing the risk of corruption, said he plans to safeguard those financial records in Libya until the country has a democratically elected government.

“I cannot give it to anybody else except an elected government, a legal one,” Baja said in a telephone interview with The Globe and Mail from Benghazi.

“There is money in these documents, account numbers in fact,” he added.

When asked to be more precise about the amount of money traced to Gaddafi, Baja declined to provide specifics.

“We are talking about a billionaire,” he said.

Gaddafi along with his relatives and agents, stole as much as $200 billion from the Libyan people between 1969 and 2011 and potentially hid more than $40 billion worth of those assets outside the country, according to estimates cited in documents filed in U.S. Court for the Southern District of New York.

That asset recovery case, which is being pursued by the Libyan Asset Recovery and Management Office (LARMO), is an effort to trace misappropriated funds that were transferred abroad through U.S. banks.

“LARMO will use that information to commence lawsuits in the relevant jurisdictions to freeze and recover the identified assets,” reads its court filing.

Tripoli-based LARMO, which reports to the Libyan cabinet and has the backing of the UN, has also asked the U.S. State Department for more help in recovering assets stolen by Gaddafi, The Wall Street Journal reported in April.

According to The Globe and Mail, the Canadian government won’t specify the total amount of Libyan assets frozen in Canada as a result of sanctions. Nor will it comment on whether any of those frozen assets include the billions that Gaddafi accumulated in Canadian bank accounts.

Related Topics