Wednesday 13 December 2017

Libya's stake in Circle Oil to be examined by Irish authorities

Nick Webb

Nick Webb

LIBYA'S near 18 per cent stake in Irish resources firm Circle Oil is under scrutiny as Muammar Gaddafi's hold on the troubled North African country leans towards further violence and bloodshed.

It is understood that Circle Oil has made contact with a number of state organisations after new rules were published about freezing the assets of certain members of the Libyan ruling elite.

"We are awaiting clarification from the relevant authorities," a Circle Oil spokesman said.

As Circle Oil is registered in Ireland it is thought that the Financial Regulator and Stock Exchange may need to provide guidance to the company.

Libya Oil Holdings invested €23m for a stake in Irish resources firm Circle Oil in 2008. The company had been co-founded by the late David Hough and was fronted by serial investor John McKeon. The 17.75 per cent stake is now worth more than €40m.

As Libyan jets bombed their own people, a number of major international companies moved against assets and shareholdings owned by people or groups close to the extended Gaddafi family.

Pearson, which owns the Financial Times, froze the Libyan Investment Authority's three per cent stake in the company. It also announced that it was to withhold any dividends from the Libyans.

The Libyan Investment Authority -- one of the country's sovereign wealth funds -- also owns swathes of property in the UK as well as stakes in Italy's largest bank Uniccredit and a seven per cent stake in Juventus football club.

Sunday Indo Business

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