Libya owns assets in 35 countries

March 3rd, 2011 - 12:15 pm ICT by IANS  

New York, March 3 (IANS) Libya has spread its wealth across at least 35 nations in investments ranging from real estate in Britain and hotels in the Middle East to a stake in Italy’s Juventus football franchise, a media report said.

Libya’s financial tendrils have reached the four continents in the span of a few years through various financial institutions, the CNN reported Wednesday.

The US, Britain, Switzerland and the European Union have moved to freeze assets worth billions of dollars belonging to the Libyan government and its leader Muammar Gaddafi, as the violence spread across the country.

Libya has also invested hundreds of millions of dollars in poor and, in some cases, unstable African nations, the broadcaster said. The Libyan Foreign Bank even owns a stake in the Commercial Bank of Zimbabwe, it said.

These assets are in addition to the billions of dollars Libya has stashed away in the US.

“Libya is just getting used to the fact they have a lot of cash on hand to invest,” the CNN quoted Ashby Monk, a researcher with Oxford University who specializes in sovereign wealth, as saying.

More than 1,000 people have died in violence since the anti-government protests began in Libya about two weeks ago.

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