Gaddafi’s Malta cash was ‘all private commissions’, lawyer insists

A lawyer for the Gaddafi family has told a Maltese court that the late Muatassim Gaddafi amassed millions in ‘private commissions’ from governments

A Gaddafi family lawyer insists that €90 million in cash held at Bank of Valletta by Muatassim Gaddafi were raised in commissions from foreign governments
A Gaddafi family lawyer insists that €90 million in cash held at Bank of Valletta by Muatassim Gaddafi were raised in commissions from foreign governments

Malta remains the site of a contested battle for some €90 million held at the Bank of Valletta in the name of Muatassim Gaddafi, son of the late Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi’s sons, which were managed by the Maltese accountant Joe Sammut, a former Labour Party treasurer.

After a year of inactivity due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Gaddafi family lawyer Charilaos Oikonomopoulos once again pleaded in testimony before the Maltese court that money held in Malta in Gaddafi’s name did not belong to the Libyan state.

The case concerns a claim by the Libyan Attorney General seeking the release of millions in cash held at BOV.

Oikonomopoulos told the court he wants to present witnesses who were close friends of the late Muatassim to attest as to the origin of his millions.

“In all discussions I had... not one single member of the family, not one single friend of Muatassim was under the perception, let along the knowledge, that the funds in Capital Resources Ltd... were providence. They all confirmed that this money was made by a gentleman whose name was not Oikonomopoulos, but Gaddafi; while not in his father’s favours, while not in the government of the state of Libya, for internal family reasons apparently,” the Cypriot lawyer told the court.

“He was allowed to travel worldwide and pick up the phone and speak with Presidents, Prime Ministers of different countries, arrange for [provisions] of different goods and services, and hence get commissions which were put in... Mezen International, and then transferred to Capital Resources, being a transparent company with a director, and beneficial owner being Muatassim Gaddafi himself.”

Oikonomopoulos is assisted by lawyer Louis Cassar Pullicino. Lawyer Simon Micallef Stafrace was nominated by the courts to act as deputy curator on behalf of the unknown heirs of Mutassin Ghaddafi.

Oikonomopoulos is tasked by Gaddafi’s widow Safia Ferkash to prevent the Libyan state from obtaining the release of the funds, held by a Maltese company called Capital Resources and Mezen International. The Libyan AG’s lawyer in Malta is Shaheryar Ghaznavi.

In court, Oikonomopoulos also presented a Dutch court document officialising the wedding of Muatassim Gaddafi to Dutch glamour model Lisa van Goinga, who bore Gaddafi a son and heir on 4 February 2012, just months after Mutassim’s death at the hands of Libyan government rebels.

“In conjunction with Sharia law… the only heirs of the late Muatassim Gaddafi are his mother Safia Ferkash by one-sixth of his estate, his widow and his child… his son by the remainder,” Oikonomopoulos said, claiming Gaddafi’s widow wanted to relinquish her share in favour of her grandchild.

Oikonomopoulos complained that most Gaddafi family members remain unable to travel due to an international ban and asset freeze. He also said three witnesses he wanted to testify, were unable to travel: one of them was Mohammed Shibani, who is facing a criminal case in Tunisia and has had his passport rescinded; Naser Enhamed Mohammed Alkadasie, a cousin of Muatassim Gaddafi who lives in Egypt; and a Libyan refugee, Nabil Saleh, who lives in France, who so far has been unable to procure a COVID test to be able to be cleared for travel to Malta.

Muatassim Gaddafi died at the Battle of Sirte after being captured by anti-Gaddafi forces on 20 October, 2011. He was later executed along with his father. He was 36.

Gaddafi’s representative Saleh Drah was introduced to Bank of Valletta by Joe Sammut, for a meeting with then CEO Charles Borg. According to bank witnesses, due diligence on the company Capital Resources was based on the bank’s prior knowledge of Gaddafi’s activity from another company account he held at the bank.

A United Nations panel of experts in Libya has been analysing the bank accounts of Capital Resources and Mezen International. Capital Resources had at least €55 million transferred to it from Mezen. But the main source of funding for Mezen was a third company, Moncada International, which in 2010 transferred over €40 million to Mezen.

The Libyan AG’s claims on the Gaddafi cash are being opposed by Safia Farkash Gaddafi, the 68-year-old widow now living in Oman with sons Hannibal and Mohammad, and daughter Aisha Gaddafi’s name at Bank of Valletta and in the Maltese registrar of companies was never made obvious, since it was represented as “Muatasimbllah Muammar Abuminyar”.

The movements of cash were sporadic both before and after the revolution in February 2011. Two weeks after the 17 February revolution, two payments were made of €73,832 and €60,000 under the description ‘Settlement LISA’ and ‘Settlement ALAG’

Additionally, Muatassim Gaddafi had various Visa platinum accounts, holding €122,770, €84,587, a €22,403 Bank of Valletta gold Visa, and another BOV platinum holding €61,118.