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Libya Recovers £10m Saadi Gaddafi London House
15/03/2012 16:33:00
The property in Hampstead, London that previously belonged to Saadi

Libya has managed to successfully recovery a £10 million London house, previously belonging to former Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi's son, Saadi. The High Court in London ruled that the property, in the up-market London suburb of Hampstead, that was bought in 2010, rightfully belongs to the Libyan state as it had been purchased with diverted Libyan state funds.

Robert Palmer, a campaigner at Global Witness said: "This judgement is extremely important as it is the first successful asset recovery case brought by a country involved in the Arab Spring. The Libyan people deserve to get back the money stolen by a tyrant and his sons.”

He went on to say that "With billions squirreled away by toppled dictators and their cronies in the UK and elsewhere, we hope this is the first of many such judgements."

Palmer said that this case is the first of its kind brought by the new Libyan authorities seeking to claw back some of the Gaddafi clan’s illicitly-acquired loot. “It shows how easy it is for corrupt regimes to access the western financial system - often using shell companies in British secrecy jurisdictions - and spend their money on luxury lifestyles,” he said.

The Arab Spring resulted in billions of pounds being frozen in western banks, including £12 billion of Libyan funds held in the UK. Much of this was state money, over which corrupt leaders exerted significant power. A sizable proportion was also personal assets belonging to regime figures, which were possibly corruptly acquired.

This case was relatively straightforward as the house, which is currently occupied by Libyan squatters who took up residence after last year’s revolution was known to belong to Saadi and the UK Treasury sanctions list stated that Saadi was the owner of Capitana and therefore of the house.

"The British government needs to do more to ensure that corrupt politicians and their family members cannot bring their ill-gotten gains into the UK and spend them on luxury lifestyles. If Saadi had a house, he must have had a bank account here as well: what checks did that bank do on his source of funds?" said Palmer.

"The UK should also be putting pressure on the BVI and other secrecy jurisdictions to stop allowing the set-up of anonymous companies that allow corrupt politicians to hide their assets," said Palmer.

Global Witness is calling for better enforcement of the anti-money laundering regulations that are designed to stop the flow of illicit funds, including the proceeds of corruption. In addition governments should require company registers to list the ultimate person ('beneficial owner') who owns a company.

Last year Global Witness published leaked documents that detailed where the national sovereign wealth fund, the Libyan Investment Authority, had its $65bn of global investments.

Although this is the first action brought by the Libyan authorities to recover the personal assets of the Gaddafis, some previously frozen state-owned funds have already been returned to the country.
fire Steve CHapman for lying about Hillary Clinton. She is not popular she is hated and loathed by most Americans for her trying to kill civilians,Walter Founteroy, & other people including foreign journalists in Libya, all civilians and should be hanged in Libya for war crimes and genocide by the ICC and Libyan people.This newspaper should stop protecting her and other pro war politicians and pro war supporters and support peace not take sides or support any war.
Yes, this step is important, in the first place, because it makes the Libyans optimistic that further steps could be adopted to get back all Libyan properies and assets from whoever has taken them. It is a tiny amount compared to the money stolen by former memebers of the fallen regime. But this step means a lot and urges the Libyan officials to exert more efforts to legally claim our stolen money and properties.

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