The Address | Benghazi – Libya
BRUSSELS – Former Belgian Treasury Minister, Marc Monbaliu, will testify again before the parliament over the case of alleged abuse of Libya’s frozen funds, Belgian magazine Le Vif reported.
The parliament’s decision to hold another hearing for Monbaliu came after he denied his September statement to Le Vif, in which he said that the decision to unfreeze Libya’s funds was “the subject of discussion and validation by the political authorities”.
Monbaliu’s first hearing was held in January 15th, in which, he told the parliament that he authorized the use of Libya’s funds by Euroclear in October 2012. He relied in his decision on an interpretation by RELEX, an expert group at the Council of the European Union composed of diplomats from member countries.
During the hearing, Monbaliu said the decision was based on a concise email sent by the Belgian representative in the RELEX group, François Dumont (this diplomat is now ambassador in Ethiopia). He did not even have access to the minutes of the meeting held by the RELEX group in this regard “for security reasons”, he said.
Monbaliu also denied that he referred to any political authority regarding the decision. He said that he did not tell Le Vif that the decision was made under political authority. He added that apart from a short conversation with a journalist from Le Vif, he had not had any contact with the magazine.
Following these statements, Le Vif published an excerpt of the telephone conversation he agreed to grant them on September 13th.
In the telephone interview, Monbaliu told Le Vif that “such a delicate decision [unfreezing the funds] is never made by a person in the secrecy of his office. This is a subject of discussion and validation by the political authorities,”
In light of this revelation, the Belgian parliament decided to hear again from Monbaliu to understand why he changed his version of events in his January hearing.
Late last year, several international media reports accused the Belgian government of financing Libyan militias involved in human trafficking through frozen Libyan assets.