Gaddafi stashed away $2 bn in Canadian banks

March 1st, 2011 - 4:10 pm ICT by IANS  

By Gurmukh Singh
Toronto, March 1 (IANS) Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi has stashed away more than $2 billion in Canadian banks, according to a media report here Monday.Canada’s CTV News network said the Libyan leader siphoned the money into Canadian banks after the thaw in their relations in 2004 when Gaddafi admitted to Libya’s role in the 1988 Lockerbie bombing, paid $2.7 billion in compensation and renounced his programme of mass destruction.

According to the report, Gaddafi stashed away the money after the visit of then Canadian prime minister Paul Martin to Libya.

However, there was no comment by the Canadian government which Sunday night clamped sanctions on Libya and froze Gaddafi’s assets in its banks.

But the government maintained Monday that sanctions won’t compel Canadian companies to stop operations in the troubled North African country.

Engineering giant SNC-Lavalin, which made headlines in India in 2009 after being named in a Kerala power scam, is one of the major Canadian companies operating in Libya.

Government House leader John Baird said the government had contacted SNC-Lavalin to explain the sanctions.

“They (SNC-Lavalin) can operate there, they can operate commercially. What they can’t do is operate financially with either the Libyan government or the Central Bank of Libya,” he said. “I think as the situation is deteriorating that we’re not looking at expanding commercial activity,” said Baird.

He said the Canadian action doesn’t “eliminate commercial activities. What it does do is restrain financial transactions with the Libyan government and with the Libyan Central Bank”.

“We don’t want to see commercial operations flowing money into the regime at this time that would be used either to be stolen or, even worse, used to finance the violence against the Libyan people.”

SNC-Lavalin said it has temporarily suspended work on certain projects in Libya, adding that “we will continue to monitor the situation to determine next steps.”

A company spokesperson said SNC-Lavalin was evacuating its workers in the next 48 hours.

(Gurmukh Singh can be contacted at

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