Who pocketed Gaddafi’s billions?
by Andrei Ontikov
NATO’s military campaign in Libya is remarkable, among other things, for the following two reasons.
First – the damage that the air raids by the Western anti-Gaddafi alliance caused to Libya is estimated to be 7 times bigger than the damage which bombing by the Nazis caused in Europe during WWII.
Second – Muammar Gaddafi and his associates had, in total, $ 150 bln on bank accounts in various parts of the world. After the beginning of the Libyan revolution, the West froze these accounts. Now, this money has disappeared somewhere.
Russian expert in Eastern affairs Anatoly Egorin tries to analyze these two cases in his recently published book, titled “The Ousting of Muammar Gaddafi. A Libyan Diary. 2011-2012.”
Speaking about the damage which Western bombing attacks caused to Libya, one may probably say that every war causes damage. This is true, but the amount of damage can be greater or smaller. It may be doubted that the ousting of Gaddafi, however tyrannical he might have been, was really worth the damage which NATO bombs caused to Libya – to say nothing of the fact that introducing a no-fly zone over a country and then bombing it is, to put it mildly, not very consistent.
However, the sum which Gaddafi and his associates had in bank accounts, and which the West, in fact, has stolen – $ 150 bln – might have been enough to reconstruct the Libyan infrastructure after the damage caused by the bombs – if not fully, then, at least, partially. But now, that money has disappeared. Why and where? Here is what Anatoly Egorin says:
“The West most likely decided right after the very start of the anti-Gaddafi rebellion in Libya to do whatever possible to prevent Gaddafi from staying in power. His and his associates’ bank accounts were immediately frozen. Or, it would be probably better to say that it was only officially announced that they were frozen, but in reality they were stolen. Nobody can say for sure precisely who stole this money and where it is now. There is only some vague information that it was allegedly pocketed by the bankers themselves and that these bankers allegedly tried to launder this money in offshore zones. Attempts to find this money are now under way, but I doubt that it will ever be found.”
“However,” Mr. Egorin continues, “it would be wrong to say that only the West has stolen the money of the former Libyan regime. It is known that those people who fought against Gaddafi and who are now in power in Libya have conveyed many trucks literally stuffed with money abroad.”
The Head of the International Association for Democracy in Libya Fatima abu an-Niran confirms what Mr. Egorin says:
“The chaotic situation in Libya enabled everyone to steal anything that lay in his or her temptation’s way. The West was quite aware of that, but didn’t try to stop it. I can back my words with facts, and the former head of Libya’s Central Bank can also confirm this.”
“The $ 150 bln on Gaddafi’s and other former Libyan leaders’ bank accounts is not the only money that was stolen during the period of anarchy in Libya,” Ms. an-Niran continues. “Lots of money was trafficked and is still being trafficked abroad by the Libyan “revolutionaries” themselves. To a large extent, the situation in Libya still remains chaotic. The new authorities seem to be incapable of controlling the situation in many of the country’s provinces. These provinces are in fact controlled by groups of bandits who do whatever they want with those who try to resist them.”
“When the West threw bombs on Libya, Western politicians said that this allegedly was done to help Libyans oust the tyrant and establish democracy in their country,” Ms. an-Niran says. “Now, it has turned out that these words were mere demagogy. The real aim of the West was to try to steal Libya’s riches.”
True, it looks like now that Gaddafi has been ousted, the West doesn’t care anymore about what is happening in Libya. It also looks like the current Libyan leaders care more about staying in their posts – or occupying higher posts if possible – than about trying to return the $ 150 bln which mysteriously disappeared back into their country, which now badly needs restoration after the war.