The government of the UK has collected £17 million on over £10 billion of Libyan frozen assets linked to former dictator Moammar Gaddafi.
Belfast News Letter reported Monday that this information has been revealed in a report by the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee which has pressed the UK government for months to come clean on the matter.
The UK government has now revealed to MPs on the committee that since the start of the 2016-17 financial year, HMRC has collected around £17 million from frozen Libyan assets. Approximately £5 million each year is collected.
According to the report, victims of Gaddafi-IRA terrorism previously reacted angrily to suggestions that the UK may have been profiting from the assets privately while publicly blocking their attempts to tap the assets for compensation.
The Gaddafi regime’s supply of several shipments of Semtex – a highly powerful, malleable and virtually undetectable plastic explosive – to the Provisional IRA in the mid-1980s led to a deadly campaign of bombings across the UK.
“The Government claims it has been taking a more ‘visibly proactive’ approach to securing compensation for victims, but it took my Committee to point out that the profits the Government has been accruing from frozen Libyan assets could be put to better use. I am glad the figure has now been revealed to us, and there is now a clear moral imperative for this money to be used to help victims who have suffered for far too long.” The Committee Chair Simon Hoare MP said.