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Italy seizes billions in Qaddafi assets

Turns out Libya’s former ruling family was pretty heavily invested in Italy: The most valuable single item seized was a 1.26% interest in Italy’s biggest bank, Unicredit, worth more than €600m (£502m). Other significant shareholdings included stakes in the oil and gas giant, ENI, the defence firm Finmeccanica and two companies in the Fiat motor ...

Turns out Libya’s former ruling family was pretty heavily invested in Italy:

The most valuable single item seized was a 1.26% interest in Italy’s biggest bank, Unicredit, worth more than €600m (£502m). Other significant shareholdings included stakes in the oil and gas giant, ENI, the defence firm Finmeccanica and two companies in the Fiat motor group.

All the assets were held through Libya’s sovereign wealth fund, the Libyan Investment Authority, which was set up in 2006, ostensibly to manage Libya’s oil revenues and diversify the country’s income. LIA’s stake in Unicredit was its biggest single investment.

Several bank accounts holding cash and shares were destined to be put under temporary, special administration as a result of Wednesday’s operation. Also put under sequester was a flat in the centre of Rome, close to the Via Veneto. The Harley-Davidson was one of two motorcycles confiscated by the revenue guard.

It was not immediately clear which of the assets belonged to Colonel Gaddafi, which to his son, Saif Al-Islam and which to his former head of intelligence, Abdullah Senussi.

The Qaddafis also had a 1.5 percent stake in the Juventus football club.

Senussi was arrested in Mauritania earlier this month in an operation involving French intelligence, setting the stage for a custody battle between Libya, France and the ICC — all of whom want to try him. According to Reuters, the prevailing rumor among Arab intelligence agencies is that the French want to try him in order to prevent information about the Qaddafi’s financing of Nicolas Sarkozy’s election campaign from going public. 

That sound like a bit of a stretch, but it’s safe to say there are quite a few government that would probably prefer to keep Senussi quiet. 

Turns out Libya’s former ruling family was pretty heavily invested in Italy:

The most valuable single item seized was a 1.26% interest in Italy’s biggest bank, Unicredit, worth more than €600m (£502m). Other significant shareholdings included stakes in the oil and gas giant, ENI, the defence firm Finmeccanica and two companies in the Fiat motor group.

All the assets were held through Libya’s sovereign wealth fund, the Libyan Investment Authority, which was set up in 2006, ostensibly to manage Libya’s oil revenues and diversify the country’s income. LIA’s stake in Unicredit was its biggest single investment.

Several bank accounts holding cash and shares were destined to be put under temporary, special administration as a result of Wednesday’s operation. Also put under sequester was a flat in the centre of Rome, close to the Via Veneto. The Harley-Davidson was one of two motorcycles confiscated by the revenue guard.

It was not immediately clear which of the assets belonged to Colonel Gaddafi, which to his son, Saif Al-Islam and which to his former head of intelligence, Abdullah Senussi.

The Qaddafis also had a 1.5 percent stake in the Juventus football club.

Senussi was arrested in Mauritania earlier this month in an operation involving French intelligence, setting the stage for a custody battle between Libya, France and the ICC — all of whom want to try him. According to Reuters, the prevailing rumor among Arab intelligence agencies is that the French want to try him in order to prevent information about the Qaddafi’s financing of Nicolas Sarkozy’s election campaign from going public. 

That sound like a bit of a stretch, but it’s safe to say there are quite a few government that would probably prefer to keep Senussi quiet. 

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

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