Libyan Investment Authority to ask UN to unfreeze assets for investment

The Libyan Investment Authority (LIA) Chairman plans to ask the United Nations to allow LIA to invest billions of dollars sitting idle in its accounts, after missing out on some $4.1 billion in potential equity returns during nearly a decade of sanctions.

LIA was blacklisted in March 2011 because it was then controlled by the family of toppled ruler Muammar Gaddafi.

However, LIA’s assets were valued at $67bn in 2012, so it now plans to update the value in October after a review by its financial adviser Deloitte.

LIA’s Chairman Ali Mahmoud Hassan Mohamed told Reuters that sanctions had a heavy toll on the LIA, with investment curbs meaning it had missed out on around $4.1bn in potential returns if it had invested in line with the market average.

“The LIA also wanted to avoid negative interest rate charges, which had cost it around $23m since 2011,” LIA’s Chairman said.

“We have billions of cash in our accounts not invested. It would be much better to take advantage of the market situation and invest at this moment.” He added.

Libya had previously asked the UN Security Council to approve a sanctions exemption for the LIA in 2016, but this request was turned down as the UN wanted to see a stable government in place before doing so.

Although the LIA is not pushing for a full rollback, it is aiming to apply to the UN Sanctions Committee for adjustments to enable it to invest, via a custodian, some of the $12.7bn frozen cash held by its investment managers.

This includes some of the proceeds from 796 bond holdings, with a value of $4.8bn, that have matured since 2011, according to Reuters.

Any investments the LIA tried to make at present were hampered by a lengthy process that required it to gain approval from the sanctions committee as well as within Libya.

LIA’s Chairman said: “It is time-consuming and investment decisions are time-sensitive”.


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