How an Emirati royal became a board member at Libya’s state oil company

On a peaceful Friday morning, Libyans interacted on social media with weirdly shocking news about a royal female; Shiekha if you will, from the United Arab Emirates, representing the state of Libya at the (CC Forum ‘Investment in Sustainable Development’ in Monaco) with the capacity of “member of the Libyan National Oil Corporation and Military Investment Authority.”

The odd news was condemned and rendered a violation of sovereignty by many Libyans, including politicians and public figures, but not by the Government of National Unity, which hasn’t so far commented on the matter.

CC Forum – Monaco

The UAE national, Shiekha Hend Al-Qassemi, who goes by “Lady Velvet” on Instagram and Twitter, denied being a member of the Libyan National Oil Corporation (NOC) and said she never attended the CC Forum in Monaco, yet a video from the forum appeared with her speaking and her title written on the screen as a representatives for the Libyan NOC and warlord Haftar’s Military Investment Authority.

Video of UAE royal at CC Forum

The Libyan NOC rushed to refute the claims that the Emirati royal was a member of its board, though the woman’s LinkedIn profile said she was a board member at the Libyan NOC since January 2019. Lady Velvet then deleted the job reference on her profile.

A screenshot from Hend Al-Qassemi’s LinkedIn profile before she had deleted the job reference.

The NOC Chairman, Mustafa Sanalla, posted a video statement so quickly, a thing he doesn’t do on the same very day even when the country’s oil shuts down by gangs and criminals, saying the Emirati royal was “claiming to be an NOC member, but she isn’t and if she is, then it must be part of the employment done by the parallel NOC branch in eastern Libya – loyal to Haftar.

The fact that she has been employed in this sovereign company by Haftar and his loyalists isn’t a talking point here, but this doesn’t mean that the CEO and boss of the NOC, Sanalla, doesn’t know such a high-profile employee operating outside Libya in the name of Libya under his institution since January 2019!

Sanalla added the NOC would take legal action against the Emirati royal for claiming a capacity at the state oil firm that she doesn’t in fact has.

Meanwhile, all fingers were pointed to warlord Haftar, who has been receiving the UAE’s support since at least 2014 in his coup endeavors from Benghazi to Tripoli. Observers believed that the fact that she represents both the NOC and the Military Investment Authority – which only exists in eastern Libya and is operated by Haftar and his sons, speaks clearly of evidence that Lady Velvet was appointed by Haftar to please his UAE backers by giving them leeway inside Libya’s sovereign oil institution.


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