The Address | Benghazi – Libya
BRUSSELS – Belgian Foreign Minister, Didier Reynders, testified on Friday before the Belgian parliament’s Finance Committee regarding the case of Libyan funds.
The committee seeks to understand the circumstances in which Belgium allowed the release of interests from Libyan funds frozen under international sanctions against the regime of former leader Muammar Gaddafi. The release of the funds’ interests has been judged to be in violation of the sanctions imposed by the United Nations.
When questioned by members of parliament, Reynders maintained that, when he was Minister of Finance, no decision had been made regarding the release of the funds’ interests, and no payment to Belgian companies using those funds was made.
Reynders implied that the decision was made by his successor, Steven Vanackere, and said that the letter which he sent to the Libyan government in 2012 regarding payments to Belgian companies was written support of a letter from Vanackere.
“I wrote [the letter] in support of a letter from the Minister of Finance,” Reynders told Belgian lawmakers.
In a similar context, Reynders also assured the MPs that Prince Laurent of Belgium and his trust fund had never been discriminated against in the support provided by the government in the case of Libyan funds.
Laurent protested that the Belgian authorities had never helped him to regain his money which he had paid through his nonprofit organization Global Sustainable Development Trust (GSDT) in Libya in 2008 concerning an unfinished reforestation project.
Last November, the Brussels Court of Appeal ordered Libya to pay GSDT over 30 million euros in damages following a unilateral breach of contract. With interest and legal costs, this payment stands at some 50 million euros.