12:56 GMT01 March 2021
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    The Northern Ireland Affairs Committee has revealed that the government took £17 million in taxes over the past three years from the £12 billion in Libyan assets linked to the country's late leader, Muammar Gaddafi.

    The UK's Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) demands that the British government hand over the millions earned from Muammar Gaddafi's frozen UK assets to the victims of Irish Republican Army (IRA) attacks.

    Nigel Dodds, the DUP deputy leader, wrote in The Sunday Telegraph about a parliamentary report that disclosed that the UK Treasury had taken £17 million in taxes in the past three years from the £12 billion in Libyan assets linked to the slain colonel.

    The report claims that Gaddafi's government supplied weapons, including Semtex explosives, to the IRA during a violent conflict in Northern Ireland - known as the Troubles - that were used in bombing attacks across the UK.

    "If we wait until there is a political settlement with Libya, then I fear many of the victims who suffered as a result of Libyan Semtex and guns will never see a single penny. They have died without justice and without any proper compensation. The Government has a clear moral duty to support our citizens, particularly those who have suffered so much", Dodds wrote.

    He added that an ongoing review should determine how many victims "could potentially qualify for such compensation".

    Dodds' comments echoed remarks by Simon Hoare, a Tory MP and chairman of the Northern Ireland committee, who said last week that the government had to ask itself whether "it is content to continue profiting from frozen Libyan assets while victims receive nothing". Hoare as well added that there was a "clear moral imperative" for the funds to go to victims.

    Libyan assets worth more than £12 billion have been frozen in the UK since a 2011 ruling by the United Nations during the civil war in which Gaddafi was overthrown and killed.

    The UK is not the only European country that's been embroiled in a Gaddafi assets-related controversy: in 2018, Belgian prosecutors launched an investigation into the billions of euros allegedly missing from Gaddafi's suspended accounts in local banks.

    Belgian authorities were accused of paying out interest and dividends on frozen Libyan bank accounts, with the UN blaming Brussels for illegally unfreezing Gaddafi's assets. At the time, Belgian Deputy Prime Minister Didier Reynard claimed that he had not been involved in the decision, which is the responsibility of the Finance Ministry.


    UK Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), victims, compensation, assets, Libya, Muammar Gaddafi, "Troubles", the Troubles, Northern Ireland, IRA
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