Tripoli, 4 May:
A police murder team in Vienna is investigating the drowning of Shukri Ghanem, the former chairman of the National . . .[restrict]Oil Company. Ghanem’s body was found floating on Danube river last Sunday. Local police have said that there was no evidence of him being killed but investigations were ongoing and that the case had to be thoroughly looked into.
Ghanem’s body was flown back to Libya yesterday, Thursday, for burial, after a post-mortem in Vienna. Some friends said they suspected that foul play because Ghanem, aged 69, knew details of the Qaddafi family’s wealth. Other say he was concerned about his health. Autopsy reports said that there were “no signs of involvement by another party.” The official cause of death is drowning.
His family initially said he had fallen into the river following a heart attack.
Ghanem, who was wanted by Libya for investigation into corruption, was General Secretary of the General People’s Committee, a post equivalent to prime minister, between 2003 and 2006 and latterly served as Qaddafi’s minister of oil until before he announced his support for the revolution a year ago. He knew everything about the oil deals signed with western governments, oil companies and others. He is reported to have had a number of enemies, both among revolutionaries because of his work as a former official for many years as well as among Qaddafi supporters because of his defection to the side of the revolution.
Ghanem’s body was found in the Danube a few hundred meters from his home where he lived with his family. He had had an apartment in the Austrian capital since his time working with Opec.