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US freezes USD 30 bn in Libyan assets

Last Updated: Tuesday, March 1, 2011 - 11:40

Washington: The US government has said it
had frozen at least USD 30 billion in Libyan assets, the
largest amount ever blocked according to US sanctions czar
David Cohen.

The US government targeted Moamer Kadhafi, four of his
family members and Libyan government agencies on Friday after
an uprising that has seen more than 1,000 people killed.
"As of today at least USD 30 billion in government of
Libya assets under United States jurisdiction have been
blocked," Cohen said yesterday.

"It is the largest blocking under any sanctions
program ever."

Cohen, speaking on a conference call with reporters,
said further sanctions could be on the way: "We are
considering whether to add to the list of individuals."

Cohen noted that the European Union had adopted
sanctions that target around 20 individuals in addition to
Kadhafi and his children.

Libya and its leaders are suspected of holding
billions of dollars in foreign bank accounts, cash largely
gleaned from the country`s vast oil wealth.

According to a 2010 message from the US embassy in
Tripoli, obtained by WikiLeaks, Libya`s sovereign wealth fund
holds USD32 billion in cash and "several American banks are
each managing USD300-500 million."
"We believe that... the central bank and the sovereign
wealth fund, the Libyan Investment Authority, are controlled
by Colonel Kadhafi and his family," said Cohen.

The Treasury Department had earlier warned banks to be
vigilant about transfers linked to Libya`s political leaders.

Cohen said that there was no immediate evidence that
the Libyan authorities had moved to shift cash out of the
United States before the sanctions hit.


First Published: Tuesday, March 1, 2011 - 11:40
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