Tripoli, 29 June:
A Qaddafi loyalist, high on the government’s most wanted list, has asked the UK for political asylum.
Dr. Saleh . . .[restrict]Ibrahim Al Mabrouk, a former Qaddafi insider, is seeking British protection, even though he was a staff member of the Libyan embassy (People’s Bureau) deported from the country in 1984, following the murder of WPC Yvonne Fletcher by a gunman firing from inside the embassy.
Dr Mabrouk is number 107 on the interim government’s most wanted list, suspected of the misuse of state funds. Mabrouk is believed to have last left Libya in the closing days of the Qaddafi regime, with $200 million in cash, on a mission to hire mercenaries from the Balkan states.
A BBC investigation has revealed that Mabrouk has applied for political asylum in the UK, despite being involved in the 11-day siege at the London embassy.
The reason given for his 1984 deportation was that his presence “was not conducive to the public good.”
However, Mabrouk along with other Libyans who had been persona non grata, was back into the UK between 2000 and 2001. This came about under a deal made by then Labour Foreign Secretary Robin Cook, as part of negotiations to bring suspects in the Lockerbie bombing enquiry to trial.
He is now wanted by the Libyan authorities over the suspected $200 million embezzlement. The BBC reports that Libya wants British police help to find evidence of Mabrouk’s financial affairs. They are asking for any assets he owns in the UK to be frozen and returned to Libya.
In the BBC interview Mubrouk denies receipt of state funds and says that he was on a peace mission to Serbia and Croatia. He says: “I challenge them if I have even $20,000, let alone the $200 million they are talking about. Let them produce proof. They haven’t caught me withdrawing cash from a bank or in an airport with cash on me.”
Once a high-ranking Qaddafi associate and former Dean of Tripoli’s Academy of Graduate Studies, Mabrouk came to the UK in 2000 apparently to read for a science doctorate at Reading university. After completing his studies he returned to Libya but, following Qaddafi’s fall, he went back to England. He now lives with his wife in the south of the country.
The investigation will be aired on File on 4 on BBC Radio 4 on Tuesday 3 July at 8pm UK time.