The Malta Independent 1 July 2016, Friday

Dispute over Gaddafi’s €90 million estate held in Malta

Helena Grech Sunday, 6 March 2016, 09:00 Last update: about 5 months ago

Col Muammar Gaddafi’s widow, Safia Farkash, is in the midst of a legal dispute with the Libyan state litigation department over the €90 million estate of her late son, Mutassim Gaddafi.

The fortune is currently being held at Bank of Valletta.

The information came to light through the African Intelligence news portal. It said that the dispute has currently hit a stumbling block, with the Libyan state litigation department “struggling to prove its legitimacy”.

Libya’s Charge d’affaires in Malta Habib Lamin reportedly failed to deliver any documentation to prove the legitimacy of the Libyan state litigation department – which plays into Ms Farkash’s hand.

It is presumed that Mr Lamin is not inclined to provide the necessary validation in view of the fact that he was appointed by the Tobruk government, while the state department is under the responsibility “of the Ministry of Justice in Tripoli”, according to Africa Intelligence, which reports that: “According to our sources, department head Abdurahman Shmila and his team are very angry and are considering reporting Mr Lamin to the Libyan Audit Bureau.”

It was also reported that Ms Farkash’s lawyers have asked Malta’s Foreign Affairs Ministry for an opinion on the matter. This has been unsuccessful however, and the case will continue to be heard on 15 April.

Prior to his death, Mutassim Gaddafi was Libya’s national security adviser. He opened his first account with BOV in 2002 – where his assets ballooned from €700 to €60 million in 2011 – according to legal filings in Malta entered by Libya’s litigation department.

When he was killed in 2011 during the Libyan revolt, two BOV Visa cards were found in his wallet, as stated in a Libyan press report.

He had a number of shell companies in Malta run by ex-Labour treasurer Joe Sammut, the very same man who has been charged with allegedly running a residency permits for Libyans scam.

The Libyan government has accused BOV for breaching the ‘know-your-customer’ rules which would have prevented it from accepting to open up an account for Mr Gaddafi. BOV is not accused of breaking any sanctions or of misconduct. The Maltese government has denied any wrongdoing, however a Wall Street Journal (WSJ) article reported: “Neither BOV nor the auditor of Mr Gaddafi’s shell companies flagged the large money transfers in and out of the accounts as suspicious, according to a transcript of testimony that the auditor, Joseph Sammut, gave to a Maltese court in 2013.”

WSJ also added that Ms Farkrash “disputes that her son gained the money through illicit means. She has claimed in legal filings that some of the money belongs to her as Mr Gaddafi’s successor.”

The Libyan government is claiming that “stolen” fortunes should be returned to Libya immediately.

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