Gaddafi's Estate in Limbo


Muammar Gaddafi's son might have stolen money from the Libyan government and stashed it in a foreign bank. The new Libyan government would like it back, but questions over the legitimacy of the new government make that difficult.

Muammar Gaddafi's son opened a bank account in Malta in 2002 and by the time the son was killed in the Libyan revolution in 2011 the account had grown to €60 million (US$66.9 million).

His mother, Muammar Gaddafi's widow, is attempting to claim the money for herself. She is opposed in that action by the Libyan State Litigation Department, which would like the funds to be returned to the Libyan government. The unique failed state status of Libya is creating problems.

The Libyan government official in charge of presenting documentation to prove the validity of the state litigation department has not done so. This appears to be because the official was appointed by Libya's Tobruk government while the litigation department is under the authority of the Minister of Justice in Tripoli.

The Malta Independent reported this story in "Dispute over Gaddafi's €90 million estate held in Malta."

Similar stories have appeared in the past.

Dictators or their families have in the past been accused of stealing money from their countries and stashing it in foreign bank accounts. Under international laws there is a process for successor governments to prove the money was stolen and reclaim it. However, it is not always easy to prove the money was stolen or that the new government is legitimate.

In this case, the government situation in Libya is playing into the widow's hands. She is the nearest relative as a successor to her son. If no one can prove the money was stolen and that it should be given to a legitimate government, then the widow could end up with the money.

Reference: Malta Independent (March 6, 2016) "Dispute over Gaddafi's €90 million estate held in Malta."

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