Freezing of Libyan assets was “scandalous” – former PM Karmenu Mifsud Bonnici

The freezing of Libyan assets was a “scandalous” move which dishonours the United Nations, says former Prime Minister Karmenu Mifsud Bonnici.

Former prime minister Karmenu Mifsud Bonnici, the man who saved Col. Muammar Gaddafi's life during the 1986 bombing by US warplanes of his Bab Azizija compound, has criticised the freezing of Libyan assets as a "dangerous and unsightly move" and an attack on Libyans' private property.

Mifsud Bonnici said that the Libyan assets, €377 million of which were in Malta, was investment that yielded income for the Libyan people through their government and companies, "as well as to support the economies of the foreign countries where the investments were made,” he said.

“Libyan companies in Malta provided employment for Maltese workers,” he added.

Mifsud Bonnici argued that every country makes efforts towards attracting investment, adding that this is founded through assurances to protect those investments so that those who invest are assured that their capital is not lost “and should be able to take it back when it sees fit.”

“When a government freezes assets belonging to a foreign country, it is failing in its obligation to protect the right of that country to its own assets,” he said, warning that countries that fear that a government might freeze their assets would not be willing to invest.

“Those governments that froze Libyan assets carried out a dangerous and unsightly move as the Libyan government and companies whose assets were frozen owe no debt to anyone,” he reiterated.

Mifsud Bonnici - whose controversial role in divesting the BICAL business empire has been well documented by MaltaToday - said that the right to private property was "a fundamental one" and that governments who froze Libyan assets breached this right.

“It is disgraceful that the United Nations and the European Union committed this breach of a fundamental right to private property. The same can be said of the Maltese government,” he said.

He also slammed how a portion of the frozen Libyan assets will be handed over to the rebel council, saying that not only are governments keeping investments out of their owners’ hands, but “are also passing them on to others who do not own them.”

“The assets of the Libyan government should be taken back by the Libyan government, whoever it is, and the assets belonging to Libyan companies should be taken by those companies, whoever they might be run by,” he said.

He said that should the frozen assets be passed onto to the National Transitional Council “would be a breach of basic legal principles of every civilised country.”

“If there is an issue over who these assets belong to, it should be the courts who decide, not for governments to arbitrarily determine according to political whims,” he added.

Late last month, Malta froze €377 million in Libyan government assets. Of these, €86 million alone belonged to the Gaddafi family, or entities in which they were majority stakeholders. In the US, over $30 billion of Libyan assets were similarly frozen.

In early July, Foreign Minister Tonio Borg has committed further Maltese assistance to the Benghazi based Libyan Transitional Council, by promising an exchange in value of frozen Libyan assets by Malta with aid to Benghazi.

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Li kulhadd qed jinsa hu li l-Libya umalta u l-italja u pajjiz iehor kellhom ftehim ta difiza kontra kull aggressjoni gejja minn fejn gejja. U dan il-ftehim kellna bzonnu daqs il-Libyani ghax ahna zghar. Jekk allahares qatt insibu z-zejt min jaf x jigri. li ghandna vantagg hu li ahna ma ghandniex dawk il-flus kollha imma dejn kbir. l-aqwa li niddemonizzaw lil kmb. u ghal min ma jafx, kieku ma kienx rispett tieghu u b'hekk ma geriex demm malti kieku hadd ma kien ser jibza mill-forza nazzjonalista mmexxija minn talgakketta blu.
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Whatever each and every individual Maltese national feels towards Europeans a opposed to Arabs, the fact is and will always remain that PN's Gonzi was the last leader of a nation who went to lick Gaddafi' boots. And this a few days before the beginning of his downfall. Full stop.
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Jamrie, I agree that many Maltese are racists and feel superior to North Africans and Arabs. I would say that there are slightly more PL than PN supporters (compare maltastar to maltarightnow) but this is a moot point and only a side issue. . While disliking Arabs, Mintoffjani have always felt very grateful towards Gaddafi and absolutely adore him. They were even told that the Maltese share the same grandparents as Libyans and, being Mintoffjani, grudgingly accepted this as a fact of life. . Another example is that, although as we are saying, Mintoffjani heartily dislike Arabs, they still agreed to replace Italian with Arabic as a compulsory subject. They also accepted blindly that our northern neighbours are "l-Ewropa ta' Kajjin" . . This was one of the great contradictions Mintoffjani had to endure during the regime. Most of them liked Britons and disliked Arabs but, because of their idol, they were forced to clash with Britain ("British get out") and adulate Gaddafi. . Say what you will, KMB IS the true face of Labour, today as yesterday. Long may he live and remind us of this.
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Jessica Chetcuti
Antoine Vella, As the saying goes everyone is entitled to an opinion, but I find that your opinions are practically verging on the hysterical. Your frenzied attack for anything Labour is nothing short of hatred for half the population of this country. I think that the person who is being deluded is you. Can you inform us what survey was carried out on which you are basing you statistics? Or is this 99% something you just plucked out of thin air. If truth be known most Maltese (including most labour) feel more akin to their Northern neighbours than they do to those in the South of which they have a great distrust. Unfortunately I can’t give you any statistics but just by talking around I feel that this is the general consensus throughout this country. Regrettably a general consensus is something that you will never accept if it goes against your way of thinking.
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Micheal Bonanno
@Antoine Vella. Is-soltu tieghek tghawweg il-fatti kif jaqbel lilek. KMB marxista? Mela vera ma tafx x'inti tghid.
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Micheal Bonanno
@GiorgioMalteser. Nahseb ahjar ticcekkja sew min gabna f'xifer ta' Gwerra Civili qabel ma titkellem. Iccekkja u ifli sew l-avvenimenti li graw bejn l-84 u n-1987 u tkun taf. Jekk tirraguna u jekk kif ghidt int m'ghandekx simpatija lejn ikl-PN ghandek tinduna bil-verita. http://www.maltapolitics.com/vjolenzanazzjonalista.htm Biex tinforma ruhek sew!
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In his own perverse way, KMB is the most genuine and honest of Labour politicians. . He expresses exactly what the rank and file of the PL feel: they hold Gaddafi is high regard and hate anything that smacks of NATO and the West in general. This is Mintoff's legacy. . Let's not delude ourselves: 99% of Labour supporters agree that freezing Gaddafi's assets was "scandalous". 99% of Labour supporters believe it was a good thing that KMB saved Gaddafi's life in 1986. 99% of Labour supporters think that NATO should not have intervened to help Libya. 99% of Labour supporters are sorry to see Gaddafi go. . All these sentiments are ably expressed by KMB. A true opponent of democracy, he is the most consistent of Mintoffian politicians and the one most in touch with the PL supports. . With KMB, however, one at least knows where one stands. In comparison, Joseph Muscat is like an ungainly chameleon who desperately tries to be everything to everybody. But fails, of course. . . PS. Isn't it ironical that a rabid Marxist like KMB should get so worked up over "private property"?
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@salgister. U zgur li nattaka lil min ma kienx haqqu imexxi lil dan il-pajjiz li kwazi gabna f'xifer ta' gwerra civili bejnietna il-Maltin u bniedem li ghadu jilaq il-warrani ta' bniedem (jekk tista isejahlu hekk) mignu, dittatur u qattiel ta' niesu stess Gadaffi. Ahjar imur jinheba f'xi dessert fil-Libya KMB u mela jigi joqod jiftah halqu ghal gazzetti x'affarijiet dawn. Tal misthija, u miniex qed nejd dan kollu ghax ghandi xi simpatija ghal PN biex nifthemu.
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Micheal Bonanno
@bond4711. Dizastru li halla l-iehor!!!?? Tant kien dizastru li l-Gvern Nazzjonalista kompli jibni fuq id-dizastru li halla l-iehor (nassumi li dan l-iehor qieghed tisthi jew tibza' tghidl b'ismu). Imma nghidulek jien. Dak kien Mintoff u ghada pitghada jibqa' jissemma ismu fil-kotba ta' l-istorja ghat-taqlib li gab fis-servizzi socjali, li anke l-Ewropa ghadha lanqas holmot li ddahhalhom. U hawn Malta ghandna Gvern Nazzjonalista li qieghed jeqridhom wiehed wiehed.
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Micheal Bonanno
@giorgiomalteser & bond4711. Mhux ghax irrid niddefendieh lil KMB, imma intom lanqas ikkritikajtu dak li qal. Attakkajtuh personalment. Halluna jekk tridu tkunu kredibbli.
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Tipprovax tahsel ras il-hmar, Karmenu. Iz-zmien jaghtina parir. Bhal metaqeghdin johorgu figuri ta' ammonti ta flus f'kontijiet partikulari. Gejna ezatt naghmlu qrati tal-poplu minghajr l-ebda professjonalita ta' xejn. L-aqwa li nikkrejaw vendetta biex min jista jakkwista
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Ara vera li l-ispizjar milli jkollu jtik !! Ghall-inqas imissu jaghlaq halqu tal-hsara kbira li ghamel meta kien poggut biex imexxi il-pajjiz lejn dizastru mibdi minn siehbu l-iehor !!.
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Lanqas haqq lis-spazju li tahlu fuqu dan il-mignun. Ghax ma jarax x'ghamel hu meta kien fil Gvern?, specjalment kif kisser l'assi tal-Bical u l'investituri baqaw bil-bannana eh?

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