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UK, US And Canada Freeze Gaddafi's Assets

by Robin Pilgrim,, London

02 March 2011

Economic sanctions on the Gaddafi regime have been stepped up following the unanimous passage of a UN resolution condemning the violence in Libya and obligating all member states to take prescribed actions, including the freezing of assets and prohibiting the travel of those associated with the regime.

On February 26, the UN Security Council passed Resolution 1970, which imposes an immediate obligation on member states to freeze without delay all funds, other financial assets and economic resources which are in their territories, and which are owned or controlled, directly or indirectly, by the individuals or entities listed in the resolution. Those listed include Gadaffi, his children and several members of his administration. The resolution also provided for a travel ban on those listed, and allows for member states to take the necessary measures to prevent the passage of arms into Libya.

The following day, the UK's Foreign and Commonwealth Office announced that action had been taken to freeze the assets of the Libyan regime, to improve export controls on Libyan banknotes and to remove head of State exemptions from UK immigration controls. Chancellor George Osborne said that the measure had been taken so that such assets "cannot be used against the interests of the Libyan people", adding that he had "decided to implement this UN resolution in the UK as quickly as possible, before the financial markets reopened". Accordingly, from 17.15 on February 27, all funds, financial assets and economic resources owned or controlled by those listed, by those acting on their behalf, or by entities controlled by them, are frozen, and no funds or economic resources can be made available to them. Further, the government intends to make it a criminal offence to export uncirculated Libyan banknotes from the UK without a licence, a measure that will remain in force for a year.

Canada also followed suit, and, in addition, Prime Minister Stephen Harper said in a statement that "Canada has decided to go beyond the Security Council Sanctions. Our government will impose an asset freeze on, and a prohibition of financial transactions with the government of Libya, its institutions and agencies, including the Libyan Central Bank". He went on to say that "these actions will help restrict the movement of and access to money and weapons for those responsible for violence against the Libyan people". These moves come shortly after US President Barrack Obama froze all Libyan assets, on the basis that "there is a serious risk that Libyan state assets will be misappropriated".

TAGS: law | United Nations (UN) | Libya | United Kingdom | offshore | Canada | United States

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