Sunday, October 23, 2011

Gadhafi's Cash: Uncle Sam's Suprise

Libyan leader Muammar Gadhafi had billions stashed around the world, according to the LA Times:

Moammar Kadafi secretly salted away more than $200 billion in bank accounts, real estate and corporate investments around the world before he was killed, about $30,000 for every Libyan citizen and double the amount that Western governments previously had suspected, according to senior Libyan officials.

The new estimates of the deposed dictator’s hidden cash, gold reserves and investments are “staggering,” one person who has studied detailed records of the asset search said Friday. “No one truly appreciated the scope of it.”
When will those detailed records become public in the new Libyan self-appointed democracy?  The Obama team should be well aware of one Libyan investment, Arab Banking Corporation, given the bank received $35 billion in Fed loans.  The report went on to say:

Obama administration officials were stunned last spring when they found $37 billion in Libyan regime accounts and investments in the United States, and they quickly froze the assets before Kadafi or his aides could move them.

The Bush administration courted Gadhafi billions, as did Obama his first two years in office.  America went from no diplomatic presence to opening a liaison office in June 2004. By 2009 the U.S. had a full embassy in Tripoli. Libya's ambassador to the U.S. under Gadhafi is now a key rebel leader.

Wouldn't a U.S. administration know how much money Gadhafi invested in America and around the globe, especially given Gadhafi's money was a reason for opening up Libya?  A spate of private equity firms courted Muammar Gadhafi, The Carlyle Group, Blackstone, Colony Capital, etc. 

Colony Capital looked to sell a portion of the firm to an unnamed Middle East (ME) Sovereign Wealth firm (SWF).  Could it have been the Libyan Investment Authority?  Colony Capital's deal for Libya's Tamoil fell through, as did Colony's monetizing a portion of the firm via a ME SWF.

Most of the money was under the name of government institutions such as the Central Bank of Libya, the Libyan Investment Authority, the Libyan Foreign Bank, the Libyan National Oil Corp. and the Libya Africa Investment Portfolio.
The Libyan Investment Authority gave The Carlyle Group $118 million to invest.  Shadow bankers, like private equity underwriters and hedge funds, are opaque.  There is nothing transparent about them.  Goldman Sachs lost 98% of a $1.3 billion Libyan investment.  Wall Street hit Gadhafi in the pocketbook long before the latest round of UN sanctions.

I wonder if the same legendary group of PEUs and politicians will line up for Gadhafi's funeral, like they lined up for his money.  Will Rubenstein, Schwarzman, Carlucci, Baker, Bush, Townsend, Specter, McCain, Blair, or Mandelson make the burial?  Will they give their condolences to Gadhafi's son Saif?  Doubtful.  A relationship forged on money evaporates when the ka-ching is gone.

Update 1-9-16:  Hillary Clinton's e-mails mention Gadhafi's billions in gold, whilst Tony Blair continues to spin his Gadhafi story to his favor.