Some of the biggest and best-known international banks held billions of dollars Libyan state oil money.
According to a report leaked by Global Witness (GW), such prominent financial institutions as HSBC, Royal Bank of Scotland, Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan Chase, Nomura and Societe General.
GW is an international non-governmental organization that works on issues related to human rights, corruption and poverty.
While all foreign assets belonging to regime of Moammar Gaddafi have been frozen by the United Nations and European Union, the banks have refused to confirm that they have held – or perhaps continue to hold – Gaddafi-related assets.
The GW document, which was dated June of last year, indicated that nearly $4-billion of Libyan money was held in investment funds and structured products, with Societe General holding $1-billion alone. JP Morgan held $171 million, while OCH-ZIFF Capital management Group kept $329 million.
In addition, HSBC held $292.7-million in ten cash accounts, with a similar amount parked in a hedge fund. Goldman Sachs reportedly kept $43-million of the Colonel’s cash in three accounts.
Nomura of Japan and Bank of New York each held $500-million.
However, the lion’s share of Libyan oil revenue – about $19-billion – were kept in banks in Libya and other Middle Eastern nations, including the Central Bank of Libya, the Arab Banking Corporation and the British Arab Commercial Bank.
Moreover, GW’s document revealed that the Libyan Investment Authority (LIA) – the sovereign wealth fund created to manage and diversify the countries oil revenue -- holds billions of dollars in shares of such companies as General Electric, BP, Vivendi and Deutsche Telekom.
GW noted that Gaddafi’s family has significant personal control over the state funds invested in the Libyan Investment Authority. According to the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court,
“Gaddafi makes no distinction between his personal assets and the resources of the country.”
Charmian Gooch, director of campaigning group Global Witness, said: It is completely absurd that HSBC and Goldman Sachs can hide behind customer confidentiality in a case like this, said These are state accounts, so the customer is effectively the Libyan people and these banks are withholding vital information from them.
Gooch demanded more transparency from banks.
“We are calling on others with additional information to go public on Libya’s other assets too or to tell us where to find them. It’s the money of the Libyan people and they deserve to know where it is,” he said.