Libya lifts € 113 million legal seizure on assets by Italian creditors

By Sami Zaptia.

Libya lifts seizure of the bank accounts of its embassies by Italian creditors (Photo: Department of Pending Cases Abroad).

London, 14 December 2020:

Libya successfully lifted the legal seizure on a number of its embassy accounts by a number of Italian companies it owes money to, the Committee for Pending Disputes Abroad of the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) announced yesterday.

Three Italian companies had succeeded in imposing a legal seizure on Libyan embassy-controlled accounts in an effort to secure € 113 million arbitration award in won in their favour by the International Chamber of Commerce in Paris in 1987 which was recognized in Italy in 2010.

In a 19 November 2020 ruling the Rome Court of First Instance nullified the seizure procedure and lifted reservations on Libyan embassy accounts on the bases that these accounts enjoyed judicial immunity.

Italian companies appeal and start new case procedures

However, the SJC reported that the companies have appealed this ruling based on the accusation that these accounts have been used for non-public purposes. They have also started new procedures to seize Libyan state funds at several banks and other bodies in Italy to recover their unpaid debts, which have been increasing in value due to the increasing accumulating interest due on them.

Libyan embassies should not use official accounts for non-state activities

The Committee for Pending Disputes Abroad called upon the bodies in charge of preserving the assets of the Libyan state abroad to work on repaying the aforementioned outstanding debts so that these assets are not subject to seizure and sale.

It also called on Libyan embassies abroad not to use their bank accounts for other than public purposes so that they are not subject to seizure.

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