Qaddafi approached by Bernie Madoff

A January 2010 cable on the Libyan regime’s finances, published by the Telegraph late last month, features a trifecta of Great Recession bad guys: Lehman Brothers, Allen Stanford, and Bernard Madoff. The cable describes a meeting between the U.S. ambassador and Mohamed Layas, chairman of the Libyan Investment Authority. The two discussed possible investment opportunities ...

Mario Tama/Getty Images.
Mario Tama/Getty Images.
Mario Tama/Getty Images.

A January 2010 cable on the Libyan regime's finances, published by the Telegraph late last month, features a trifecta of Great Recession bad guys: Lehman Brothers, Allen Stanford, and Bernard Madoff. The cable describes a meeting between the U.S. ambassador and Mohamed Layas, chairman of the Libyan Investment Authority. The two discussed possible investment opportunities for U.S. businesses in Libya as well as the country's financial state more broadly:

Layas informed the Ambassador that Libya had "weathered the storm" of the economic crisis. He noted that the LIA operated with "high liquidity," and therefore was not concerned about the volatility of the oil market. "We have USD 32 billion in liquidity," he stated, "mostly in bank deposits that will give us good long-term returns." He explained that several American banks are each managing USD 300-500 million of LIA's funds, and opined that the LIA was entangled in a legal disagreement with Lehman Brother's due to a major investment that was "mismanaged." He said that the LIA has an office in London and preferred doing business there rather than in the United States, due to the "ease of doing business" in the UK and relatively "uncomplicated tax system." He noted that the LIA's primary investments are in London, in banking and residential and commercial real estate.

6.(C) Layas denied press reports that the LIA had invested USD 100 million with the infamous Allen Stanford. He said that he had personally written a letter to the "Financial Times" disputing the information, explaining that Stanford had approached the LIA in the middle of his crisis, offering a 7-8% share in his investment scheme, but Layas had refused. Layas also mentioned having been previously approached by Bernard Madoff about an investment opportunity, "but we did not accept."

A January 2010 cable on the Libyan regime’s finances, published by the Telegraph late last month, features a trifecta of Great Recession bad guys: Lehman Brothers, Allen Stanford, and Bernard Madoff. The cable describes a meeting between the U.S. ambassador and Mohamed Layas, chairman of the Libyan Investment Authority. The two discussed possible investment opportunities for U.S. businesses in Libya as well as the country’s financial state more broadly:

Layas informed the Ambassador that Libya had "weathered the storm" of the economic crisis. He noted that the LIA operated with "high liquidity," and therefore was not concerned about the volatility of the oil market. "We have USD 32 billion in liquidity," he stated, "mostly in bank deposits that will give us good long-term returns." He explained that several American banks are each managing USD 300-500 million of LIA’s funds, and opined that the LIA was entangled in a legal disagreement with Lehman Brother’s due to a major investment that was "mismanaged." He said that the LIA has an office in London and preferred doing business there rather than in the United States, due to the "ease of doing business" in the UK and relatively "uncomplicated tax system." He noted that the LIA’s primary investments are in London, in banking and residential and commercial real estate.

6.(C) Layas denied press reports that the LIA had invested USD 100 million with the infamous Allen Stanford. He said that he had personally written a letter to the "Financial Times" disputing the information, explaining that Stanford had approached the LIA in the middle of his crisis, offering a 7-8% share in his investment scheme, but Layas had refused. Layas also mentioned having been previously approached by Bernard Madoff about an investment opportunity, "but we did not accept."

Perhaps after ripping off Jewish charities and Holocaust survivors, Madoff was trying to assuage his guilt by ripping off Qaddafi?

Joshua Keating was an associate editor at Foreign Policy  Twitter: @joshuakeating

Tag: Libya

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