Questions over ‘theft’ of frozen Libyan assets

Ulster Unionist peer Sir Reg Empey has raised questions about the alleged theft of $30bn
Ulster Unionist peer Sir Reg Empey has raised questions about the alleged theft of $30bn

Any theft from frozen Libyan assets in the Middle East would totally undermine UK arguments that it cannot access such assets in Britain to compensate terror victims, it is claimed.

IRA victims groups and supportive parliamentarians have for years been pressing the UK government to use £9.5bn of Libyan assets frozen in the UK to compensate their members in line with international standards.

The victims lay claims to compensation because the late Libyan dictator Col Gaddafi supplied semtex and other weaponry to the IRA which were used in strings of atrocities.

This week there have been numerous reports that a high ranking Libya official disclosed to the media that the United Arab Emirates used $30bn of Libya’s frozen assets in its banks to support the military operations of Libyan warlord Khalifa Haftar, as well as other allies in Libya.

UUP peer Lord Empey, who has been pressing for the use of Libyan assets in to the UK to compensate IRA victims asked the UK Government to outline the safeguards in place in Britain in light of the reports.

“If it is the case that frozen Libyan assets are being accessed in other countries it would totally undermine the Government position that it cannot touch frozen assets within the United Kingdom due to UN and EU sanctions,” he said.

“The approach of successive governments to the issue of reparations amounts to a betrayal of UK victims of Gaddafi sponsored terror. I will continue to explore every possible avenue to secure compensation for victims.”