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UAE enforces UN freeze on Libyan assets

Haseeb Haider
Filed on June 21, 2011
UAE enforces UN freeze on Libyan assets

UAE Central Bank has ordered banks and financial houses operating in the country to freeze the assets of Libya’s controversial leader Muammar Gaddafi and 18 of his family members.

The UAE on Monday implemented the two UN Security Council Resolutions seeking a freeze on the bank accounts and assets of Libya’s controversial leader Muammar Gaddafi and 18 of his family members, close associates and entities for violating human rights and killing people in the North African country.

“We have instructed banks to initiate a search and freeze any accounts, investments, deposits in the name of persons named in the UNSC resolutions,” said Abdulrahim Al Awadhi, executive director and Head of Anti-Money Laundering and Suspicious Cases Unit at the UAE Central Bank.

Al Awadhi, who was talking to reporters on the sidelines of a conference in the UAE capital on methods to detect and combat money laundering, said: “The UAE has implemented the UN Security Council’s Resolutions 1970 of 2011 and 1973 of 2011 against Libya.”

He further said that under the orders, banks will also freeze any safe deposits lockers and will stop money transfers by the 19 people and entities with immediate effect, in line with the UNSC resolutions.

The decision, which was announced by the UAE’s Central Bank, comes after the UAE recognised the Libya’s National Transition Council in Ben Ghazi as the sole legitimate representative of the Libyan people, in a decision announced on June 12.

On February 26, the UNSC adopted a comprehensive resolution to respond to the outrageous violence perpetrated by Gaddafi on the Libyan people.

Western countries and the United Nations have imposed a range of sanctions on Libya, where rebels are fighting to end Gaddafi’s 41-year rule. Seventeen Gaddafi loyalists are subject to an international travel ban. Six of these individuals, including Gaddafi himself and his immediate family members, are also subject to a freeze of their assets.

Al Awadhi said the Central Bank is “currently analysing the feedback it received from the banks” on the instructions issued. He said a report would be prepared based on the feedback in a week’s time, which will contain the outcome of the action taken by the banks, in order to implement the UN sanctions. The report will then be submitted to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Last week, on the request of the Tunisian government, the UAE’s Central Bank froze the assets of former president Zain Al Abiden bin Ali and his family members along with 120 politicians.

Meanwhile according to a Reuters report, EU foreign ministers agreed on Monday to look into the possibility of using frozen Libyan funds to assist rebels opposing Gaddafi.

A statement agreed at a meeting in Luxembourg said the European Union acknowledged the urgent financial needs of the rebel transitional council in Libya. “The mobilisation of international resources, including where possible, through the use of Libyan frozen funds, in compliance with the provisions of the relevant UNSCRs (United Nations Security Council Resolutions), is key to support the inclusive transition process aimed at fostering national reconciliation,” the statement said.

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