Britain freezes Gaddafi's assets

2011-02-28 06:54

London - Britain on Sunday froze the assets that Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi and his family have held in the UK, the Foreign Office said.

"The government has today taken action to freeze the assets of Colonel Muammar Abu Minyar al-Qadhafi (Gaddafi), members of his family and those acting on their behalf or at their direction," the statement said.

Britain understands that Gaddafi owns around £20bn ($32.2bn) in liquid assets, mostly in London, according to the Telegraph newspaper.

"I have today taken action to freeze the that they cannot be used against the interests of the Libyan people," British finance minister George Osborne said in the statement.

"This follows the UN Security Council Resolution tabled by the UK and France," Osborne continued. "I decided to implement this UN resolution in the UK as quickly as possible, before the financial markets reopened.

"This is a strong message for the Libyan regime that violence against its own people is not acceptable," Osborne added.

British Prime Minister David Cameron later Sunday promised Gaddafi that he would use all the powers at his disposal to try to force the Libyan leader from power, telling him it was "time to go".

"We are now putting serious pressure on this regime," Cameron said. "The travel ban and the asset freeze are the measures we are taking against the regime to show just how isolated they are.

"There is no future for Libya that includes him," Cameron warned.

The Foreign Office statement warned financial institutions that the treasury would monitor compliance "rigorously".

According to reports, Gaddafi's British assets include bank accounts, commercial property and a £10m London home.

Britain's Department for Business, Innovation and Skills also signed an order to prohibit the export of uncirculated Libyan banknotes without a licence from the UK.

The British action follows that taken by Washington, which signed an order freezing the Libyan leader's US assets earlier Sunday.

Saturday, the UN Security Council unanimously ordered a travel and assets ban on Gaddafi's regime and a crimes against humanity investigation into the bloodshed blamed on the Libyan strongman.

It also called for an immediate arms embargo against Libya, where the UN says more than 1 000 people have been killed in attacks blamed on Gaddafi loyalists.

In line with the UN announcement, the government confirmed that it had revoked "existing export licences for goods and technology that could be used for internal repression."

"Export licences for military or paramilitary equipment to Libya will not be issued unless they fit within one of the exceptions set out in the (UN) embargo," the FCO statement added.

  • Kenko - 2011-02-28 08:39

    Question: Why does these countries allow crazy leaders to stash away billions and only act when something bad happens? The money is obviously stolen from state coffers, so why allow the deposits? This is one feature of capitalism that I find reprehensible.

  • Nasdaq7 - 2011-02-28 09:58

    $32.2bn - just in London? Muammar Gaddafi is probably the richest person in the world.

  • malvern - 2011-02-28 09:59

    Hi KENKO i agree with you. Why do the so called rich countries only react when things go wrong. England did not mind to get his money (or Libs money) when there was no uprising. what are morals??? Two sides to one face

  • Nasdaq7 - 2011-02-28 10:01

    Kenko it has nothing to do with capitalism. The money could have been stashed in a Venezuelan bank. Capitalism is a system of mathematics and business that has nothing to do with corruption or whatever. Free trade is something you haven't experienced. That means no government. You haven't seen capitalism. To do so you must first visit Singapore where its government is totally hands-off in the economy. First study capitalism before blaming it. Read the Wealth of Nations. Its just mathematics. No politics or corruption.

  • Papa - 2011-02-28 10:46

    Obviously the amounts are deliberately inflated to turn public sentiment against Gaddafi. On another note, the Libyan uprising is totally different from Tunisia and Egypt, in the latter two, the people protested peacefully whereas in Libya, armed rebels are fighting. The hypocricy of the West knows no bounds. They helped Gaddafi stash all the wealth and now they freeze? Why allow these fellows to hide money (allegedly billions of pounds)and only act when you intend to effect "regime" change. The Libyan people are fighting for the West to plunder their oil, same as the Egyptian people will not see the democracy they fought for, the USA is working hard to make sure that whoever comes into power will continue with what Mubarak was doing for them and Israel. The change of faces will not necessarily bring about real change, I see cosmetic changes and an improved communication to fool the people.

  • Johnny - 2011-02-28 12:24

    How sad, Britain and US allow dictators to stash money in these countries, at the expense of the dictators' people.

  • mike - 2011-02-28 12:59

    Why when oil is involved the West reacts. Gaddafi is only responsible for a 1000 deaths. What about Bob Mugabe and the matabele People who he slaughtered. Bob still seems to have his wealth. It would seem that if the country has little or no advantage for the West they change their moral standing.

  • Mycol Joe - 2011-02-28 14:17

    $ al that while the people of libya are dieng not only of him killing them but of hunger too... this evil must just go, and mugabe too must go.

  • SAV - 2011-02-28 14:45

    interesting hey! when their oil is affected they're suddenly freezing assets. what about Mugabe's assets around the world, no-one is freezing those and his attrocities are just as bad but no oil.bunch of hipocrites!

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