Libyan assets held by leading global banks

Muammar Gaddafi The EU and UN have frozen assets of the Libyan leader Col Gaddafi and members of his family

Some of the biggest and best-known financial institutions in the world held billions of dollars of Libyan state funds, a leaked report has revealed.

Principal among them were HSBC, Royal Bank of Scotland, Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan Chase, Nomura and Societe General, Global Witness said.

The banks refused to say whether they held, or are still holding, the funds.

All the assets have now been frozen by the European Union and United Nations.

The document, dated June 2010, showed that HSBC held $292.7m (£179.9m) in 10 cash accounts, with a similar amount invested in a hedge fund, while Goldman Sachs had $43m in three accounts.

Almost $4bn was held in investment funds and structured products, with Societe General alone holding $1bn.

Start Quote

All the banks refused to make any public comment on the funds they received and managed on behalf of the Libyan Investment Authority, citing client confidentiality”

End Quote

Japanese bank Nomura and Bank of New York also held $500m each.

A much larger proportion of Libyan Investment Authority's assets - $19bn in total - were held by Libyan and Middle Eastern Banks, the document revealed.

It also showed that the Libyan Investment Authority (LIA) holds billions of dollars in shares in global corporations such as General Electric, BP, Vivendi and Deutsche Telekom.

It had already been widely reported that the fund held stakes in UK publishing group Pearson, Italy's Unicredit bank and industrial group Finmeccanica, as well as Canadian oil exploration group Verenex.

'Economic sanctions'

"It is completely absurd that HSBC and Goldman Sachs can hide behind customer confidentiality in a case like this," said Charmian Gooch, director of campaigning group Global Witness.

LIA funds held by banks

PDF download Libyan Investment Authority - Management Information Report[378KB]

Most computers will open PDF documents automatically, but you may need Adobe Reader

"These are state accounts, so the customer is effectively the Libyan people and these banks are withholding vital information from them."

Established in 2006, the LIA holds about $70bn of assets and is the 13th largest sovereign wealth fund in the world, according to the Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute.

The fund, built on Libya's oil wealth, scores two out of 10 on the institute's transparency ranking.

Earlier this month, the EU extended its economic sanctions against Libya to include the LIA and the country's central bank.

It had already frozen assets of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi and some members of his family.


More on This Story

Related Stories

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites


This entry is now closed for comments

Jump to comments pagination

Comments 5 of 7


More Business stories



BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.