The Address | Benghazi – Libya
BRUSSELS – The United Nations has blamed Belgium for illegally unfreezing Libya’s funds in a document dated 17 December 2018, the Belgian Le Soir newspaper reports.
The UN Security Council’s Libyan Sanctions Committee has ruled that unblocking interests on deposits of the Libyan state runs counter to the sanctions regime, Le Soir reported, adding that the ruling was made back on 17 December 2018, but that the document “remained unnoticed”.
The Belgian government has long maintained that the issue is merely a difference of interpretation between the European Union and the United Nations.
Acting Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel, for his part, declined to comment on the matter.
The UN ruling comes after the Brussels prosecutor’s office reported in December that Belgian investigators interrogated a former finance ministry official in connection with their probe into an alleged withdrawal of several billion euros from Libya’s suspended accounts in Belgian banks.
This is the latest development in an ongoing domestic and international battle over funds belonging to the Libyan Investment Authority (LIA) but located in Belgium.
Several international media reports accused the Belgian government of financing Libyan militias involved in human trafficking through frozen Libyan assets.
The United Nations Panel of Experts on Libya said in a final report in September 2018 that the payment of interest and other income contradicted the decision to freeze Libyan assets in general and violated sanctions on Tripoli.
Both the Belgian government and the Libyan Investment Authority (LIA) denied any wrongdoing.