Moammar Gadhafi secretly salted away more than $200 billion in bank accounts, real estate and corporate investments around the world, about $30,000 for every Libyan citizen and double the amount that Western governments previously had suspected, according to senior Libyan officials.
The new estimates of the deposed dictator’s hidden cash, gold reserves and investments are “staggering,” one person who has studied detailed records of an asset search said Friday. “No one truly appreciated the scope of it.”
If the values prove accurate, Gadhafi will go down as one of the most rapacious as well as one of the most bizarre world leaders, on a scale with the late Mobutu Sese Seko in the Democratic Republic of Congo or the late Ferdinand Marcos in the Philippines.
Obama administration officials were stunned last spring when they found $37 billion in Libyan regime accounts and investments in the United States, and they quickly froze the assets before Gadhafi or his aides could move them.
Governments in France, Italy, England and Germany seized control of an additional $30 billion or so. Investigators estimated Gadhafi had stashed perhaps $30 billion elsewhere, for a total of about $100 billion.
But subsequent investigations by U.S., European and Libyan authorities determined Gadhafi secretly sent tens of billions more abroad and made sometimes-lucrative investments in nearly every major country, including much of the Middle East and Southeast Asia, officials said Wednesday.
Most of the money was under the name of government institutions such as the Central Bank of Libya, the Libyan Investment Authority, the Libyan Foreign Bank, the Libyan National Oil Corp. and the Libya Africa Investment Portfolio. But investigators said Gadhafi and his family members could have had access to any of the money.
- Gadhafi had stashed a ‘staggering’ $200 billion (seattletimes.nwsource.com)