Local Belgian media has revealed that about 10 billion euros ($12.3 billion) have disappeared from four frozen Euroclear Bank accounts belonging to two Libyan state agencies.
The accounts containing 16.1 billion euros of state funds were frozen since March 2011 in accordance with a United Nations resolution as part of sanctions against the late Muammar Gaddafi’s inner circle, reports weekly newspaper Le Vif.
“There remains a little less than 5 billion euros on the four accounts opened at Euroclear Bank SA,” they quoted Denis Goeman, a spokesman from Brussels prosecutor’s office.
The disappearance was noticed when Belgian authorities tried to seize the funds in 2017 during a probe into alleged money laundering by Gaddafi’s inner circle.
Euroclear Bank had refused to hand over the accounts belonging to Libyan Investment Authority (LIA) and its subsidiary Libyan Foreign Investment Company (LFICO) in Bahrain and Luxembourg, prompting the probe.
European weekly newspaper Politico reported that interest from the accounts was released every month without authorization by the Belgian authority to an “HSBC account in Luxembourg belonging to LIA and to several other LIA accounts at the Arab Banking Corporation whose main shareholder is the Libyan Central Bank.”
The UN placed sanctions on the Libyan government’s assets after NATO’s intervention in 2011. It has since seized about $67 billion from the accounts of the LIA across Europe and North America.