CBL Rejects US State Department’s Statement Regarding the Currency Shipment in Malta


Libya’s eastern-based Central Bank has announced that it rejects the US State Department spokesperson’ statement regarding the shipment of Libyan currency withheld by Malta. The Bank’s Board of Directors expressed its surprise at the American insistence to exclusively give legitimacy to the Tripoli-based Central Bank, thus “ignoring that the management of the Libyan crisis lies in the powers and responsibilities of bureaucrats and not in the location of one institution”.

In a statement issued today, Sunday, the Central bank explained its rejection in 7 points as follows:

1- The currency printing process is an inherent jurisdiction of the Board of Directors, as guaranteed by the Banking Law No. (1) for the year 2005 amended by Law No. (46) for the year 2012.

2- In accordance with its authorities,the bank decided to print the currency, after the governor of the Tripoli-based Central Bank, Al-Seddik Al-Kabir failed to distribute currency in a fair and logical manner to all cities. In fact, Al-Kabir only sent 167 million dinars to the commercial banks of the eastern region since 2015.

3- The Russian company Goznak did not agree to carry out the printing process until it had confirmed the integrity of the legal status of the bank, and the procedures and decisions taken by it in particular.

4- In September 2019, the Maltese customs authorities confiscated a consignment of currency – not yet circulated, that is, printed papers that did not acquire the status of legal circulation – and which was on its way to the Benghazi sea port.

5- The shipping company and the printing house made all attempts to release the shipment, but did not get any positive result.

6- An international law firm has been assigned to take over the matter with the Maltese customs authorities in order to release the shipment.

7- In May 2020, the international law firm took its actual legal measures against the Maltese customs authorities.

The board of directors’ statement also pointed out that the choice of timing by the State Department to publish its statement corresponds to the initiation of legal procedures by the Russian company and its lawyers. The board stressed that its procedures are legal and within the powers conferred to it by Libyan law. It also added that the US statement supporting “the status quo is an irrational justification for current events.”

The Board of Directors noted that the Central Bank’s administration communicates with all international institutions such as UNSMIL and the US Embassy regarding the arrangements for the international examination of the bank’s branches in Tripoli and Al Bayda. The eastern-based Central Bank also communicated with the UN Committee of Experts which inquired about the incident and said that it conflicts with paragraph (11D) of the Security Council Resolution No. 2213 issued in 2015.

The Board of Directors concluded by stressing the integrity of its legal status, and that all the measures and decisions taken by the bank stand on solid legal ground.