Italy on Wednesday (Mar 28, 2012) seized more than 1.1 billion euros ($1.5 billion) of assets controlled by the Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi's family including stakes in top companies, land and a Harley Davidson.
The seizure by tax police officers followed a request by the International Criminal Court in The Hague, which is seeking the extradition from Libya of Gadafi's son Seif al-Islam on charges of crimes against humanity.
The police "seized today fixed and moveable assets, company stock and bank accounts connected to the family of ex-Libyan leader (Muammar) Gaddafi and to his entourage," a police statement said, listing the value of the assets.
Among the assets held by Libyan sovereign wealth funds was a 1.256-per cent stake in the nation's largest bank UniCredit worth 611 million euros and a 0.58-per cent stake in oil major ENI, the top foreign energy producer in Libya.Related Articles
Under Gaddafi, Libya briefly held the biggest single stake in UniCredit.
There was also a 2.0-per cent stake of Italian aerospace and defence giant Finmeccanica worth 40 million euros and a 0.33-per cent stake in carmaker Fiat and truck maker Fiat Industrial worth an estimated 53 million euros.
Police said they further confiscated stock in serie A football club Juventus where one of Kadhafi's sons -- football-mad Saadi who is now hiding in Niger -- used to be on the board and an apartment in one of Rome's most exclusive areas.
The seizures included 150 hectares (371 acres) of forest on Pantelleria,(See picture) a picturesque Italian island halfway
between Sicily and the Tunisian coast where the Libyan strongman was rumoured to be planning to build a holiday village.
A rogatory commission at the ICC requested the assets be seized in the context of its investigation into Kadhafi's son and his former intelligence chief Abdullah Senussi, also a brother-in-law to the fallen Libyan strongman.
The legal framework for the seizures also includes European Union rulings.
The assets -- a business empire built up by Kadhafi starting in the 1970s -- had already been frozen in the wake of the start of the Libyan rebellion last year and police said it took time to work out the exact owners of the funds.
Kadhafi and former Italian premier Silvio Berlusconi signed a 'friendship treaty' in 2008 which led to a sharp rise in investments between the two countries, while Italy also undertook to pay compensation for colonial times.
The new leadership in Libya appears to be distinctly cooler towards the country's former colonial master and has refused to revive the friendship treaty, signing only a new pact in January callled the 'Tripoli Declaration'.
Read more: asianage.com. deccanchronicle.com.digitaljournal.com