The United States has commended the Government of the Republic of Malta’s announcement on May 26 of its seizure of $1.1 billion of counterfeit Libyan currency printed by Joint Stock Company Goznak – a Russian state-owned company – and ordered by an illegitimate parallel entity in eastern Libya.
According to Maltese authorities, the seizure took place on last Tuesday. The banknotes were printed by Russia to be sent to their ally Khalifa Haftar so he can use it to pay for his war on Tripoli.
The US embassy added in its statement on Friday that the Central Bank of Libya headquartered in Tripoli is Libya’s only legitimate central bank, in a hint that the eastern Libya-based CBL cannot do such a sovereign operation and that it remains unrecognized as an official entity by Washington or the UN.
“The influx of counterfeit, Russian-printed Libyan currency in recent years has exacerbated Libya’s economic challenges.” The US embassy added.
The embassy remarked that Washington remains committed to working with the United Nations and international partners to deter illicit activities that undermine Libya’s sovereignty and stability, and are inconsistent with internationally-recognized sanctions regimes.
“This incident once again highlights the need for Russia to cease its malign and destabilizing actions in Libya.” The US embassy said.
A UN-appointed mission to Libya said on Monday there are “probable mass graves” yet to be investigated, possibly as many as 100, in Tarhouna where