Fathi Bashagha Calls on Scotland to Track Stolen Libyan Money


The Libyan Parliament-designate Prime Minister, Fathi Bashagha, has called on the Scottish authorities to “redouble efforts” in the search for billions of dollars stolen from the African country, according to The Times.

Almost a decade has passed since the Crown Office agreed to help Libya trace vast sums of national wealth destined for hospitals, education and housing that went missing in questionable construction contracts which included deals with Scottish companies in the 1990s.

According to the The Times, an investigation by Police Scotland — understood to be the largest of its kind — established several years ago that more than 20 Scottish Limited Partnerships (SLPs) were used as vehicles to launder money from Libya.

Detectives also found evidence to suggest that dozens of properties across Scotland and England, including a luxury townhouse in Chelsea, West London, were bought with laundered cash, The Times claimed.

On the 10th of February 2022, the Libyan Parliament announced the unanimous appointment of Fathi Bashagha as the new Prime Minister. However, Abdelhamid Dbaiba warned that the appointment of a new interim government could lead to war and chaos in the country. He renewed his pledge to only hand power over to an elected government.

In 2021, Dbaiba’s brother-in-law and cousin, Abdelhamid became Libya’s interim Prime Minister. The Prime Minister was previously the Head of the state-owned development contractor LIDCO, which was part of Libya’s Organization for the Development of Administrative Centres (ODAC’s) contracting system. After Gaddafi’s fall, both Dbaiba’s were sanctioned for corruption by Libya’s new transitional government.

Both Ali Ibrahim and his son were named in a request for international assistance that Libya sent to Scotland in 2013, as it sought help tracing looted state funds. According to a report by The Guardian newspaper, their luxury properties in the United Kingdom are worth over £25 million.

A member of the Libyan Political Dialogue Forum (LPDF), Ahmed Al-Sharkasi, accused the family of Prime Minister Abdelhamid Dbaiba, of wasting $120 billion.

Al-Sharkasi said that “Dbaiba continues to make false promises, the latest of which is the holding of elections.”

In February 2022, an investigation was conducted by the Organised Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) and its partners, on the prominent Dbaiba family in Libya. It drew on leaked data from inside Swiss banking giant, Credit Suisse, and discovered previously unknown accounts belonging to Ali Ibrahim Dbaiba, the cousin of Prime Minister, Abdelhamid Dbaiba.

Three other businessmen who benefited from the public contracting system, were involved in the case.

“Billions of dollars given out through public contracts had gone missing. Investigators said the money appeared to have been stolen by the former Head of ODAC, Ali Ibrahim Dbaiba, and his family,” the OCCRP said.

It noted that these clients, all of whom were later implicated in corruption investigations, were involved at all levels of the public construction sector. This ranged from the awarding of contracts, to the ownership of companies that benefited from government spending. One was a Libyan bank in Tunisia, allegedly used in a graft scheme involving letters of credit issued for ODAC contracts.

Their Credit Suisse accounts were worth tens of millions of dollars while they were open — in some cases, during the same years their owners were working with Dbaiba to loot ODAC. All remained open after the 2011 Libyan uprising brought the country’s development system under renewed scrutiny, and after Dbaiba was placed on a national sanctions list.

ODAC and the public contracting process were part of a broader system of corruption, which was used to siphon off Libya’s vast oil wealth during Gaddafi’s four decades in power. A 2014 report by anti-corruption watchdog, Transparency International found that his regime likely stole around $61 billion.