Gaddafi billions held in SA - report

Johannesburg - Assets worth billions belonging to slain Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi are thought to be held by South African banks, the Sunday Times reported.

"National Treasury was approached by a group claiming to be representatives of the Libyan government," Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan's spokesperson Jabulani Sikhakhane told the newspaper.

It reported that Libyan investigators had found evidence that more than $1bn (about R10bn) in cash, gold and diamonds was being held by four South African banks and two local security companies.

"The process of verifying the group's claim is under way," said Sikhakhane.

Libyan embassy official Salah Marghani told the Sunday Times investigators had "been appointed to investigate and secure assets in Africa on behalf of the people of Libya".

The Sunday Times published extracts of letters from Libya's justice and finance ministers to their South African counterparts, asking for help finding assets linked to Gaddafi which might "have been illegally possessed, obtained, looted, deposited or hidden in South Africa".

Gaddafi was executed in 2011 after a political uprising in Libya.

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