The top diplomatic official was commenting on the report of the Vif weekly news outlet, claiming that 10 billion euros ($12.3 billion) out of 16.1 billion euros vanished from the bank accounts that had been frozen in line with the UN sanctions against late Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi and his family.
The bank accounts were opened by the Libyan Investment Authority and its branch Libyan Foreign Investment Company. According to the media outlet, the funds were frozen in March 2011 and vanished in the period from 2013-2017. Brussels reportedly did not authorize unfreezing the funds.
"Press freedom, certainly, exists, but when the information is false I expect that it will be corrected," Reynders told the Belga news agency, commenting on the situation.
The Vif outlet criticized the minister's statement, noting that when it asked the Belgian Finance Ministry to comment on the situation on March 2, it did not refute the information on vanished billions, and only said that it did not authorize unfreezing the bank account.
In 2011, the UN Security Council imposed a number of restrictive measures on Libya's authorities in relation to the repressions of civilian demonstrators protesting against the government of Gaddafi. The sanctions included the two-way arms embargo, the freeze of funds of the key country's financial institutions, including the Central Bank, a travel ban on Gaddafi's relatives and other senior figures in his administration, as well as a number of measures to prevent illicit exports of crude oil from Libya.