Australia probes 'secret' Gaddafi assets

2011-02-28 08:41

Sydney - Australia is investigating claims that the family of beleaguered Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi has stashed millions of dollars in assets down under, Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd said on Monday.

A day after Australia slapped sanctions on Libya's regime, which he branded "despicable", Rudd also said the "time is up" for Gaddafi and called for a no-fly zone over the tumult-hit North African nation.

Canberra has launched a forensic probe to track down any assets the crumbling regime may have secretly built up in Australia.

"One of the reasons the Australian government acted early with unilateral autonomous sanctions against the (Gaddafi) regime was to ensure we can now begin legal processes for establishing whether any financial assets are held in Australia," he told public broadcaster ABC.

"I'm not advised as to whether there are such assets or not, but such an examination is now under way," Rudd said.

The Sun-Herald newspaper reported that Kadhafi's sons, Seif al-Islam and Saadi Gaddafi, may have salted away millions of dollars in oil money in Australian investments during a series of visits here over the past nine years.

"The critical thing is to cause the regime to know that, whether it's in Australia or any other part of the world, their assets are now being frozen, and this hopefully brings a further item of focus to the mind of this entirely despicable regime," Rudd said.

Travel and financial sanctions imposed by Australia on Sunday will cover 22 figures in the Libyan regime, including Gaddafi and members of his family as well as senior military and security personnel.

Rudd, who was heading back from a visit to Egypt, said it was impossible to predict how long Gaddafi would remain in power, but said it was time for him to step down.

"Our view is that Gaddafi's time is up. The reprehensible actions by his regime are of long standing but what we've now seen in recent days is this violence against his own people reach a new and unprecedented order of magnitude," he said.

  • vatsokatvis - 2011-02-28 10:31

    The ANC will wait until the last moment and then steal old gadaffi's money now in Chancellor House account themselves. Anybody next to bend over?

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