Monday 18 December 2017

Moves to target Gaddafi wife's fortune of $30bn

Hasan (11), the son of a rebel fighter, holds a weapon in Ajdabiya
Hasan (11), the son of a rebel fighter, holds a weapon in Ajdabiya yesterday

Jon Swaine in New York

Britain is attempting to target Colonel Muammar Gaddafi's wife with UN sanctions, fearing her multi-billion dollar fortune could be used to bolster her husband's rule and attacks on civilians.

The Libyan leader's wife of 40 years, who is known by her maiden name of Safia Farkash, was not named among the Gaddafi associates and family members who had their assets frozen and were banned from international travel under two UN resolutions in February and March.

Her personal fortune has been put by some of her many enemies at $30bn (€21bn), though estimating Gaddafi wealth is difficult due to the regime's failure to distinguish between private family and government money.

Ms Farkash is known to control Buraq Air, a private rival to the Libyan state airline, and is said to have amassed 20 tonnes of gold reserves, although she is less of a public figure than some other Arab leaders' wives.

The mother of his daughter and six of his seven sons, she became Gaddafi's second wife in 1971, after nursing him through a bout of appendicitis.

The British government, together with France and Germany, has requested that Ms Farkash be added to the sanctions blacklist, along with 23 other Libyans and several companies.


"We want to persuade her and others close to Gaddafi to stop doing what they're doing," a western diplomat at the UN said. "The point of sanctions is to encourage behavioural change."

Also included on the new list is the Libyan state television company, which the coalition says is being used by Gaddafi to boost his war effort by spreading propaganda. But Russia and China, which have permanent seats and vetoes on the UN Security Council, and India, which occupies one of the nine rotating seats, have repeatedly declined to approve this expanded list.

A deadline for endorsement of the list by the Security Council's sanctions committee expired yesterday.

The committee can only act by consensus, meaning that there must be no objections from any of the Security Council's 15 members.

"They are claiming that their objections are about technical parts of the proposal, and are not on principle," a western diplomat said. "But who knows if that is really true."

The diplomat said western powers would be "lobbying in the capitals" of the sanctions-blocking states this week and that renewed high-level diplomatic pressure was being applied. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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