UN report: Belgium violated freezing of Libya’s assets through Euroclear bank

Euroclear Bank in Belgium [Photo: Internet]
The UN panel of experts on Libya said Tuesday that Belgium is in violation of international sanctions targeting assets once owned by Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi.

The experts’ conclusions come after Politico said months ago that the money was channeled to mystery beneficiaries behind accounts managed by the Libyan Investment Authority (LIA.)

The U.N. experts spent months this year traveling across the world — including several trips to Belgium — to investigate whether the frozen funds are in compliance with the 2011 U.N. sanctions. These assets included the interest payments that made their way from Euroclear to accounts belonging to LIA.

“The Panel considers these payments of interest and other earnings to be in non-compliance with the asset freeze,” said the report, written by experts specializing in armed groups, financial transactions and shipping.

“Making the interest and other earnings freely available to the Libyan Investment Authority is in non-compliance with the sanctions regime. Furthermore, considering the instability in the country, the disputes over the authority of the Libyan Investment Authority and the lack of an oversight mechanism, doing so could lead to the misuse and misappropriation of funds,” the panel added.

A spokesperson for the Belgian finance ministry said Wednesday that the country planned to hold talks with financial experts and other EU countries on how to react to the panel’s findings. “A consultation will be organized with experts and the European partners that apply the sanctions in the same way that Belgium does,” the spokesperson said, Politico reported.

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