US freezes $30bn in Libya assets

2011-02-28 22:27

Washington -The US government has so far blocked around $30bn in Libyan assets after imposing sanctions late last week, the largest amount ever frozen, US sanctions czar David Cohen said on Monday.

The US government targeted Muammar Gaddafi and four of his family members on Friday.

Cohen said more sanctions could be on the way.

"We are considering whether to add to the list of individuals," he said.

Cohen noted that the European Union had adopted sanctions that target 20 additional individuals.

Libya and its leaders are suspected of holding billions of dollars in foreign bank accounts, cash largely gleaned from the country's vast oil wealth.

According to a 2010 message from the US embassy in Tripoli, obtained by WikiLeaks, Libya's sovereign wealth fund holds $32 billion in cash and "several American banks are each managing $300-500 million".

The Treasury Department had earlier warned banks to be vigilant of transfers linked to Libya's political leaders.

Cohen said that there was no immediate evidence that the Libyan authorities had moved to shift cash out of the United States before the sanctions hit.

Cohen said the United States believed "there are substantial Libyan state-owned assets in Europe and that these assets are controlled by Colonel Gaddafi and his children."

Read more on:    muammar gaddafi  |  us  |  libya  |  libya protests  |  sanctions
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