Battle of Libyan sovereign funds spills over into Maltese courts

With rival governments in Tripoli and Tobruk scrambling for the assets of dictator Muammar Gaddafi, even the country’s sovereign fund – the Libyan Investment Authority – has now been divided into two branches.

The Maltese courts have been petitioned by Tripoli’s national salvation government, or Libya Dawn, to recognise their representative as legitimate delegate to take control of the Libyan-Arab Maltese Holding Company (LAMHCO).

LAMHCO is a subsidiary of the Libyan-Arab Foreign Investment Company, jointly owned with the Maltese government, with some €46.5 million in capital in the Vivaldi and Milano Due hotels, and industrial manufacturing firms in Malta.

With rival governments in Tripoli and Tobruk scrambling for the assets of dictator Muammar Gaddafi, even the country’s sovereign fund – the Libyan Investment Authority – has now been divided into two branches.

In Malta, LAMHCO’s directors remain under control of the ‘Tobruk LIA’ but its former chairman, Mohsen Ali Derregia, has requested that he be recognised as Tripoli’s man and representative of the Libya Africa Investment Portfolio (LAIP) – which is owned by the LIA.

The LAIP is currently being run from Malta by Hassan Bouhadi, chairman Ali Hebri, and executive director Ahmed Kashadah. Like many other Libyan entrepreneurs and government officials, a lot of Libyan business is being carried out from offices and apartments on the island.

Since the LAIP’s offices in Tripoli were overrun by armed men in December, 2014, Kashadah took all of the funds’ records to Malta.

Originally, Bouhadi was installed at the head of the $60 billion LIA to take over from former minister Abdulrahman Benyezza back in October 2014, the result of the fierce power struggle for control between the internationally-recognised government in Tobruk and the Islamist-led Libya Dawn that controls the capital Tripoli.

After Tobruk sacked Benyezza and installed Kashadah in Malta to run the fund, it is now Mohsen Derregia who is asking the Maltese courts to recognise the termination of Kashadah as LAIP representative.

“Ahmed Kashadah does not occupy the post of general manager, today occupied by Mohsen Derregia,” the civil court notice read.

Derregia himself resisted attempts by former prime minister Ali Zeidan to remove him from the LIA, claiming that the decision was against the rule of law.

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