16:19 GMT02 July 2020
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    BRUSSELS (Sputnik) - Belgian Deputy Prime Minister said on Tuesday that he had not been involved in the decision to unblock interest on deposits of the Libyan government of Muammar Gaddafi at Euroclear Bank in Brussels, frozen per a 2011 decision by the UN.

    "This [decision to unblock funds] is the responsibility of the Finance Ministry. I have not headed it since December 6, 2011, and have not made any decisions on this matter," Belgian Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Didier Reynders told reporters.

    READ MORE: Libyan Army Chief Haftar to Take Part in Conference on Libya in Palermo — Rome

    He recalled that the permission to partially unfreeze Libyan accounts was issued by the kingdom's treasury in October 2012, when the Finance Ministry was headed by Steven Vanackere.

    The official's statement follows Monday media reports stating that the United Nations and the Belgian authorities were conducting parallel investigations into the alleged unblocking of frozen bank accounts of former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi. According to reports, about 3-4 billion euros ($3.41-$4.54 billion) of interest payments on that assets have been legally transferred to Libyan authorities and could be directed to illegal armed groups, which, in particular, were engaged in human trafficking.

    In March, Belgian media reported that there were about 14.2 billion euros in various securities and 1.9 billion euros in cash belonging to Libya in Euroclear Bank in Brussels, as of late November 2013. However, they have since shrunk to less than 5 billion euros.

    In February 2011, the United Nations froze all foreign accounts belonging to Gaddafi's government. Gaddafi was overthrown and killed later that year in October. About a month prior to Gaddafi's death, the UN Security Council partially softened its sanctions against Libya. On the basis of UN Security Council Resolution 2009, a group of EU advisers on international affairs decided in November of that year that there were no longer any grounds for blocking interest payments on frozen bank accounts of Libyan authorities. The Belgian Finance Ministry was guided by this decision when paying interest on the Libyan assets.


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