Last Updated: Fri Aug 26, 2011 13:53 pm (KSA) 10:53 am (GMT)

Qaddafi will try to sell Libyan gold, says ex-central banker

Tripoli has gold reserves worth $10 billion. (File Photo; Illustration by Amarjit Sidhu)
Tripoli has gold reserves worth $10 billion. (File Photo; Illustration by Amarjit Sidhu)

Muammar Qaddafi will try to sell part of Libya’s gold reserves to pay for his protection and sow chaos among tribes in the north African country, said his former central bank governor Farhat Bengdara.

Mr. Bengdara, who has allied himself with the Libyan rebels, told the Italian daily, Corriere della Sera, that an ally of Qaddafi had offered 25 tons of gold to his friend “a little time ago.”

“My friend referred it to me and I suggested that he refuse and my friend immediately rejected the approach. But it is a clear indication,” Mr. Bengdara said in the interview published on Thursday. He said his friend was not Libyan but gave no further details.

There are gold reserves worth $10 billion in Tripoli and Qaddafi could have taken some of that amount, he said.

Mr. Bengdara said he believed that Qaddafi had fled Tripoli and could be heading towards the Algerian border.

“Now he is looking to pay and corrupt some tribes and some militia to have protection and to create further chaos,” he said.

The former central bank governor, who is a director of Italian bank UniCredit, said Libya needed $5-$7 billion as a bridging loan to get the banking system restarted and to pay for imports.

“We don’t need donors. Libya is a rich country. The state activities from the Libyan Investment Authority, the central bank and gold reserves are worth $168 billion. But it is all frozen,” Mr. Bengdara said.

It will take months and a UN Security Council resolution before these sums are freed up, he said.

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