The Libyan Investment Authority (LIA) has refuted media reports that some of Libya’s frozen assets in Belgium have vanished, describing the reports as “allegations.”
LIA said in a statement on Thursday that there is no evidence supporting the claim that frozen assets in Belgium were used to fund militias, adding that the latest UN panel of experts’ report on Libya didn’t include such a violation by the LIA.
LIA said it had started probing the allegations, stressing that it is ready to work with the UN and the concerned local authorities to guarantee the Libyan assets are being protected as per UN resolutions.
"The LIA wishes to make it clear that it denies any wrongdoing and emphasises that there is no evidence whatsoever any funds have been used to finance armed groups." LIA remarked.
LIA added that is also investigating the allegations and is committed to working with the UN and all relevant national regulators to ensure that its assets are administered in line with the UN sanctions regime.
The statement of LIA came in response to reports claiming that Belgian banks paid out interest and dividends on accounts frozen under U.N. sanctions in 2011.
Belgian RTBF broadcaster said that up to 5 billion euros ($5.7 billion) could have been disbursed to people controlling Libyan accounts, including militia groups.
However, the LIA’s statement did not indicate to the use of interest and dividends to fund the militias.
“Over the course of seven years, Libyan militias have been getting the weapons they need. Some countries arm them publicly and most of the time, they know from where they can get arms.” RTBF reported, saying there are two cases where planes carrying weapons to Libya have been stopped in a Belgian airport.
Meanwhile, Libya’s ambassador to the European Union, Belgium, and Luxembourg, Murad Hamima, revealed last March that 300 million euros had been withdrawn from the frozen assets in Belgium between June 30 2012 and the end of December of the same year.
“We have over 15 billion euros frozen in Belgium.” The ambassador added, citing documented he was familiar with.
Also in March, Le Vif - a Belgian paper – revealed claimed that 10 out of 16 billion euros disappeared from the Libyan frozen assets in Belgium. The claims were denied as fake news by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Belgium, Didier Reynders.