Italy may freeze 3.6 bn euros of Libyan assets

March 2nd, 2011 - 12:35 pm ICT by IANS  

Rome, March 2 (IANS/AKI) Italy may follow the lead of its allies and freeze billions of euros of Libyan assets, according to Italian news reports.

Business daily Il Sole 24 Ore said the the North African country’s assets in Italy are worth 3.6 billion euros.

A government committee on financial security led by an official from the Italian treasury will discuss whether it will follow the lead of allies like the US and Britain and freeze the assets belonging to Libya, leader Muammar Gaddafi and his family.

Gaddafi has come under international pressure to step down after 41 years of rule following reports of violent crackdowns on protesters seeking to topple his government.

He blames Al-Qaeda for the uprising and refuses to resign.

The European Union Monday followed the US and the UN by slapping sanctions on Gaddafi and his government. The sanctions include an arms embargo, an assets freeze and bans on travel to within the 27 EU countries.

The Italian foreign ministry Monday announced the suspension of a 3-year-old friendship treaty with Libya that promised $5 billion over 20 years as compensation for Italy’s 30 years of colonial rule of Libya that ended in 1941.

Among Libya’s Italian assets is a 7.2 percent stake of UniCredit, Italy’s largest bank, 14.7 percent of broadband telecommunications company Retelit; 2 percent of military contractor Finmeccanica; and 7.5 percent of the Juventus football team, according to daily La Stampa.

Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini Monday said the decision to impound Libyan property belongs to a committee headed by Finance Minister Giulio Tremonti, according to La Stampa.

–IANS/AKI
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