Washington: Slain Libyan despot Muammar Gaddafi secretly salted away an estimated staggering USD 200 billion in bank accounts, real estate and corporate investments around the world before he was killed. The Libyan dictator, who faced an ignominious but gruesome death, had hidden huge amounts of cash, gold reserves and investments and the amount is double that Western governments previously had suspected, an agency reported. (Agencies)
It claimed that Western officials have struggled all year not only to identify Gaddafi's money but also to convince countries such as India, China and Russia to seize Libyan investments as required by the UN Security Council resolutions.
If the value proves accurate, the paper said, Gaddafi will go down in the history as the most rapacious as well as one of the most bizarre leaders of the world on a scale with the late Mobutu Sese Seko in Zaire or the late Phillipino president Ferdinand Marcos.
The newspaper said that US administration officials were stunned last spring when they stumbled upon USD 37 billion in Libyan regime's accounts and investments in the US. They quickly moved to freeze them, before Gaddafi or his aides could shift them.
Similarly, governments in France, UK, Germany and Italy have seized control of more than USD 30 billion held in these countries.
UN human rights agency calls for probe into death
The UN human rights body has sought a probe into Libyan strongman Muammar Gaddafi's death to determine whether he was killed during fighting or after his capture, saying that thousands of victims of the eight-month conflict have the right to know the truth.
The circumstances surrounding the former Libyan leader's death in his hometown of Sirte are unclear, with four or five different versions surfacing of how he died, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) said.
"There are at least two cell-phone videos, one showing him alive and one showing him dead. Taken together, these videos are very disturbing," Rupert Colville, OHCHR's spokesperson, said in Geneva.
Colville said there is need for an investigation and more details are needed to ascertain whether Gaddafi was killed in the fighting or after his capture.
He said that thousands of victims who suffered loss of life and several others who were subjected to torture and other human rights violations over the past eight months have the right "to know the truth, to see the culture of impunity brought to an end, and to receive reparations."
"It will be essential for alleged perpetrators to be brought before trials, which adhere to international standards for fair trial, and for victims to see that accountability has been achieved," Colville stated. Colville said "a new era" is now beginning in Libya, which should respond to the aspirations of the people for democracy and human rights.
"For this to become a reality, human rights must be the cornerstone of all policies and actions, and people must have the chance to have a real say in determining the future of their country," he said.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon had yesterday urged all sides in Libya to lay down their arms and work together peacefully to rebuild the North African nation that has seen months of fighting and killing.
Meanwhile, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said that, from Sunday, newly arriving third-country nationals from Libya at Egypt’s Saloum border will not be processed for resettlement.
Saloum has been one of the main sites over recent months for people fleeing the crisis in Libya.
Washington: Slain Libyan despot Muammar Gaddafi secretly salted away an estimated staggering USD 200 billion in bank accounts, real estate and corporate investments around the world before he was killed.
The Libyan dictator, who faced an ignominious but gruesome death, had hidden huge amounts of cash, gold reserves and investments and the amount is double that Western governments previously had suspected, an agency reported.