Judge Claise has issued an international arrest warrant for the head of the Libyan sovereign wealth fund

In an article dated January 7 in the Tijd, Rik Van Cauwelaert informs us that the investigating judge Michel Claise has issued an international arrest warrant for Ali Mahmoud, the chairman of the Libyan Investment Authority. It is the sovereign wealth fund of Libya. As this country was managed with an iron fist by Colonel Gaddafi for 42 years, he tended to consider this fund as his personal foreign collection.

According to the latest report from Deloitte, LIA assets are estimated to be nearly $68 billion in 2019. As a reminder, a significant part of this treasure (between 14 and 15 billion euros) was placed in Belgian banks and in particular with the Euroclear bank.

It should also be remembered that the UN froze these assets to prevent them from being used to finance the civil wars that broke out in Libya after the death of Gaddafi on October 20, 2011. However, the Belgian government has authorized the transfer of the interest on these funds (about 2 billion) in complete violation of the UN resolution, to one of the Libyan factions. 

When we talk about the Belgian government, we are talking mainly about Didier Reynders, who was Minister of Foreign Affairs at the time, but who had placed trusted men in key positions in his former ministry, Finance.

Like Marc Monbaliu, the former head of the Treasury, who owes his entire career to Reynders, and who signed the transfer deed. The latter had declared to Le Vif:  » You can imagine that such a delicate decision is never made by a person in the privacy of his office. This is subject to discussion and validation by the political authorities.  »

The reason for the international arrest warrant is corruption. In Belgian law, this implies a briber and a bribe-taker. For a Belgian investigating judge to issue an arrest warrant against a senior official of a third country is not a common occurrence. That the other main suspect is the European Commissioner for Justice and Rule of Law is not common either. Especially when he is in charge of the new European Public Prosecutor’s Office in charge of the fight against… corruption.

The article in the Tijd also asks questions about the responsibility of the Euroclear bank, but also about the deafening silence of some of the protagonists at the time, such as Georges Gilkinet. The latter was particularly active in the case to try to make the truth triumph. Suddenly he was no longer heard from and now he is Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Mobility in the government of Prime Minister Alexander De Croo, himself a former Minister of Finance!

  1. Jeune Afrique, 14 septembre 2021, « Fonds souverain libyen, les milliards de Kadhafi bientôt dégelés ? ».
  2. TV5Monde, 31 octobre 2018, « Fonds libyens : la Belgique au cœur d’un scandale ? ».
  3. La Vif, 16-01-2019, « Fonds libyens, l’enregistrement qui dément Monbaliu. »
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