Libyan Investment Authority

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Group.png Libyan Investment Authority   WebsiteRdf-icon.png
LIA Building.jpg
Headquarters Libya: 22nd Floor Tripoli Tower, Malta: 26 St Barbara Bastions in Valletta

The Libyan Investment Authority (LIA) claims to control Libya's $67 billion sovereign wealth fund but, in a country riven by civil war and rival governments, the LIA is itself torn by competing factions:[1]

AbdulMagid Breish has an office in the Tripoli Tower, where he says he is Chairman of LIA;
Hassan Bouhadi runs another LIA head office from Malta, also claiming to be Chairman.[2]

On 7 March 2016, adjourning a case in London's High Court over the leadership claims of Breish and Bouhadi, the two rival heads of the LIA, Judge William Blair declared it would be premature to rule while moves were afoot to form a Government of National Accord in Libya.[3] An LIA press release on 18 March 2016 said:

"The English High Court has today confirmed the continued operations of the Libyan Investment Authority from Malta, and the protection for the LIA’s on-going litigations in the English courts."[4]

Assets

Roughly half of the LIA’s assets are in cash, equities and other relatively liquid securities. However, of those, 80% are subject to sanctions from the Western world freezing them and preventing active management. Much of the remaining assets are in the form of around 550 businesses set up by LIA, from hotels in Egypt, to joint ventures in Zimbabwe. Breish says he wants to sell or shut the inefficient firms and keep those with potential to make good returns, but he can do little while LIA is divided and the government in Tobruk backs his rival Hassan Bouhadi.

Legal action

LIA's small London office is closed because of the dispute, with its UK staff currently working from home. Instead, Breish is largely reduced to fighting legal actions in an attempt to win back money he says foreign finance firms snaffled by taking advantage of incompetent Libyan officials. The most high profile cases involve Goldman Sachs and Societe Generale, both of whom deny any wrongdoing and are fighting the claims, with Goldman arguing the LIA did have experienced bankers on its side.

Unity government

In March 2016, a Libyan unity government pulled together with UN backing moved to take power as the Tunis-based Presidential Council called on the country’s institutions and the international community to stop dealing with any rival groups. The Council said that it had a majority of signatures approving the new government from the House of Representatives (HOR) – one of Libya’s two rival post-Gaddafi assemblies – as well as endorsement by other political figures. The declaration suggests the Government of National Accord – nominated by the UN-backed Presidential Council – will seek to take power despite continuing opposition from hardliners in both of divided Libya’s competing parliaments: the HOR in Tobruk and the rival General National Congress (GNC) in Tripoli.

The Council called on “all Libyan sovereign and public institutions and the heads of financial bodies to start communicating immediately with the Government of National Accord so as to hand over power in a peaceful and orderly manner”.[5]

Interim Steering Committee

On 15 August 2016, the Presidential Council of the Government of National Accord (GNA) appointed an Interim Steering Committee to temporarily administer and steer the LIA. It has the privileges and terms of reference of the Board of Directors and Chairman with a view to safeguard the normal administration of the company.[6][7]

The Steering Committee, chaired by Dr Ali Hassan Mahmoud and with members Abdulazeez Khaled Ali, Alhadi Najimeddin Kabar, Khaled Khalifa Hassan Altaher and Ahmed Abdullah Amar, met in Tunis on 26 September 2016.[8]

On 17 August 2016, the governments of France, Germany, Italy, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the United States issued a Joint Statement welcoming the appointment of the Steering Committee and underlining the GNA to “exercise sole and effective oversight” of the Libyan institutions including the LIA.[9][10]



References

  1. "Libya's Sovereign Wealth May Hold Key to Country's Civil War"
  2. "The leadership battle at the top of Libya's sovereign wealth fund"
  3. "LIA leadership case adjourned, judge says premature to rule"
  4. "High Court ruling confirms continued operations of LIA"
  5. "Libyan unity government moves to take power, asserting sole authority to rule"
  6. "Appointment Decree-GNA" (PDF). Libyan Investment Authority Official Website.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. "Libya's U.N.-backed government appoints panel to run $67 billion wealth fund". Reuters Website.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. "GNA-appointed LIA Steering Committee meets in Tunis"
  9. "FCO Joint statement". UK Government Official Website.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. "US State Department Joint Statement". US Department of Sate Official Website.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>