Britain has thwarted an attempt to take nearly one billion pounds in Libyan dinar to Tripoli by laying an elaborate false trail while it worked on a legal ban to prevent the money leaving the country, the Times reported on Monday.
George Osborne, the Chancellor, was said to have been horrified to discover a request made last week to transfer notes worth almost 900 million pounds from a secure facility in the North East of England back to Tripoli.
The British daily reported that Osborne immediately ordered a string of logistical obstacles to be put in place while the Government sought the agreement of the Privy Council for a ban on the export of the currency, thought to have been ordered by the Central Bank of Libya.
Officials stalled the request by initially promising to provide an aircraft, and when this failed told the Libyans that they could only land a plane in Marsden, Kent — hundreds of miles from the storage facility.
The Libyan plane never took off to collect the cash and the Privy Council agreed to the ban at 5pm Sunday, according to the Times.
The Treasury later announced that all funds, financial assets and economic resources owned or controlled by Colonel Gaddafi and his five children were frozen with immediate effect.
The Foreign Secretary, William Hague, is expected to travel to Geneva on Monday for a meeting of the U.N. Human Rights Council, at which Libya is expected to face expulsion. He told the BBC that if the international community failed to act the whole region would spawn “uncontrolled migration” and become “a breeding ground for international terrorism.”