On Tuesday, Libya’s Attorney General, Al-Siddiq Al-Sour arrived in Brussels and met with his Belgian counterpart. The visit comes as part of a round of talks in European capitals, in an attempt to resolve the thorny dispute with Belgium, regarding Libya’s frozen assets in the country.
Al-Sour is set to submit an official request to his Belgian counterpart, enabling him to investigate Belgium’s Crown Prince Laurent. This is against the background of the Prince’s illegal attempts to seize the frozen assets in Euroclear Bank accounts.
The Prince, who is the brother of the Belgian King, has been seeking compensation from Libya. This is after his charity, the Global Sustainable Development Trust, invested tens of millions of euros in a reforestation project that never went ahead, due to the 2011 civil war.
In 2011, the United Nations Sanctions Committee ordered the freezing of the vast majority of Libyan Investment Authority (LIA) funds. These funds have been converted into securities and placed abroad, including with the Belgian clearing house, Euroclear.
Earlier this month, Brussels investigating Judge, Michel Claise issued an international arrest warrant against Ali Mahmoud, the Chairman of the LIA. Claise has been investigating the missing interest on the LIA billions for several years. Despite the UN ban, the interest on some €15 billion euros was released by the Belgian government, and transferred to foreign accounts in London and Bahrain.
The money, estimated at €1.5 billion Euros – was examined carefully in 2019, by the House Committee on Finance and Budget.
In November 2021, Libyan Prime Minister Abdel-Hamid Dbaiba accused Belgium of attempting to loot the frozen funds since 2011. “We have a problem with Brussels… Belgium is a developed country, but there are loopholes… they covet the Libyan money in Belgium. I officially announce that the Belgian authorities are making a new attempt to seize the Libyans’ money in their possession,” Dbaiba said during a cabinet session.