The mystery of Gaddafi’s gold
Libya’s National Transitional Council is preoccupied with two missing points: Gaddafi and his gold. The rebels are not the only party concerned. Popular rumor has it that Gaddafi’s regime was attacked due to its vast gold reserves and Colonel’s plans to introduce a new currency in Africa–gold dinar - to shatter USD and euro.
Libya under Gaddafi was among top 25 gold reserve owners. The Financial Times estimated the country to have almost 144 tons of gold worth 4,5 bn euro in March 2011. While other leaders put their money into banks of London, NY and Switzerland, Gaddafi preferred to keep it home inaccessible for international embargo imposed on all his foreign assets.
In March 2011, the IMF estimated Libya’s reserves even higher but the official amount remained 144 tons that were registered by Gaddafi-controlled Libya’s Central Bank. When the country saw first unrest the treasure was moved southwards of the Sabha town to the border with Chad and Niger to make it easily movable to a different country in case of invasion.
The head of the Bank Qasem Azoz claims that Gaddafi sold 20 percent of the reserves in the first months of the uprising, namely 29 tons of gold worth 1 bn 4 mln euro in May. Spain’s El Pais newspaper wrote that the dictator did it to pay his supporters. Other versions say that the money went to private mercenary army which was to fight with the opposition.
Qasem Azoz claims that the gold vanished in April-May, his colleagues believe that it was moved to Tunisia or Niger. The NTC is now looking for both Colonel and his gold.
Some believe the truth hides in one of the vehicles suspected to have carried Gaddafi out of the country. However, this week Colonel published an address denying that he had fled. Niger’s FM Mohamed Bazoum also said that Gaddafi is not in the country during his Algeria visit. The diplomat stated that Gaddafi was not in the vehicles that had crossed the border. But maybe the gold was….Or a leader of tuareg rebels from Niger Rhissa Ag Boula.
Information about Gaddafi’s links with tuareg tribes and mercenaries circulated since the first days of the war. La Vanguardia paper gave proof of collaboration between Gaddafi’s security services headed by Abdullah Mansour Dao and mercenary recruiter from Niger Aghali Alambo. Maybe the gold went to private mercenary army and Gaddafi’s safety. Ex-head of Libya’s Bank Farhat Bengdara told Italy’s Corriere dela Sera that Libya has more gold than estimated which is worth 7 bn euro. Gaddafi needs it to bribe tribes and mercenaries, pay his guards and provoke panic and chaos in the country.
To find Gaddaffi’s gold one has to find Gaddafi first. Farhat Bengdara believes that Colonel can play endless hide-and seek being safe behind his multi-billion dollar shield. Even if he is captured it may not make the situation clearer. Gaddafi as many dictators knows how to keep secrets. The same as deep sands of Sahara do which can be safer than any banks.