Tuesday, April 19, 2011
GADDAFI’S SPANISH EMPIRE REMAINS INTACT
It was on February 26 that the UN Security Council passed resolution 1970 under which all the assets of Gaddafi, his wife and four sons were to be frozen wherever in the world they may be. On March 17 there was a further resolution which extended the freeze to seven senior military officers and members of the secret service. The only exception was they could access money for their legal defence should they be brought to trial.
Amongst the entities named by the UN was the Libyan Foreign Bank which was founded in 1972 and is deemed to be under the control of Gaddafi, his family and was a potential major source of funds for the regime. This bank came under the Central Bank of Libya, also named by the UN. It is in the name of the Libyan Foreign Bank that in 1995 the four parcels of land known as La Resinera in Benahavís were registered. On these lands Gaddafi intends to construct 2,000 homes. The finca covers 70 million square metres between Benahavís, Júcar and Pujera and should have been embargoed if the UN’s orders had been followed.
Both the UN and EU have issued directives that Gaddafi’s assets should be blocked. However the lands of La Resinera have no charges or other matters registered against them. The Spanish Government insists that therefore only a court can embargo them hence the Fiscalía General del Estado would have to apply to the Audiencia Nacional to freeze the lands to comply with the UN resolution.
Clearly, for whatever reason, Spain has no wish to do this and a game of buck passing is in progress with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs instating it is a matter for Hacienda, the Interior Ministry and the Bank of Spain. The Bank of Spain says it is not its responsibility to block or investigate Gaddafi’s funds and the Ministry of Justice points the finger back to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The sole action taken was on March 16 when the Ministry of the Economy appointed three judicial administrators to Aresbank – the only Spanish bank controlled by the Libyan regime. Indeed the Libyan Foreign Bank has a 99.86 controlling interest and with the administrators Aresbank can function normally within the restrictions imposed by the EU. Apart from the land in Benahavís the Libyan banks through Spain also control other interests including a hotel in Panama.
Another familiar name to those on the roads of Andalucía, Cataluña and the Comunidad Valenciana is Tamoil. This network of 35 petrol stations was formed in 1991 and employs around 100 people in Spain. Its HQ is in Barcelona; it turns over around 200 million euros a year and is a subsidiary of Tamoil in Italy where it has 2,000 service stations and a refinery. It in turn is the commercial arm of Oilinvest based in Holland which was created in the 1980s with 450 million euros of capital. It appears the National Oil Corporation, Libya’s main petroleum company, controls 35 per cent of this group. The UN says these businesses are under the control of Gaddafi but no action has been taken against them.
However the financial fingers of Gaddafi spread right around the world. Libyan funds make up 26 per cent of the British Arab Commercial Bank which amongst its other interests is involved with the Financial Times and Juventus football club in Turin in Italy. Over 500 million US dollars are said to be tied up in US banks, Gaddafi controls Canadian Verenix Oil, has interests in the Belgian-German bank Fortis, in Italy has 2.6 per cent of Unicredit and 2 per cent of Finmeccanica – that country’s major arms manufacturer.