New LIA chief wants UN to introduce “smart sanctions”

By Libya Herald reporters.

LIA chairman Ali Hassan Mahmoud (L) with UNSMIL's Ghassan Salamé (Photo: LIA)

LIA chairman Ali Hassan Mahmoud (L) with UNSMIL’s Ghassan SalamĂ© (Photo: LIA)

London, 24 August 2017:

The Libyan Investment Authority (LIA) says it is being crippled by the UN freeze on its once $69 billion of international assets, to the extent that in 2014 alone it lost $719 million.

The new board appointed last month by the Presidency Council (PC) is pressing for the introduction of “smart sanctions” which would enable the LIA to have prudential control over its assets but not cashing out any investments without UN approval.

The new LIA chairman Ali Hassan Mahmoud has begun a charm offensive to gain backing for the smart sanctions scheme.  Yesterday he saw the new UNSMIL chief Ghassan Salamé in Tripoli. The LIA said afterwards that Salamé had praised the investment authority on its progress and assured Mahmoud that he was ready to assist it in “enhancing its governance and operations to the benefit of all Libyans”.

In Tunis last week Mahmoud saw British diplomats and  US ambassador Peter Bodde where he once again pressed the smart sanctions idea.  The LIA’s case is also being made by Libya’s UN mission in New York which is reportedly canvassing every member country.

Last week, the Central Bank of Bahrain and the majority Libyan-owned Arab Banking Corporation, which is based in Bahrain, were also involved in talks  with Mahmoud and his LIA team in both Bahrain and Tunis.

Under its new managers, the LIA has outlined internal reforms and also set out a timetable for to persuade the UN to adopt smart sanctions. Meanwhile,  Mahmoud says it is carrying out a full audit of its portfolio, the jurisdictions where assets are held and the sanctions to which they are subject.

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