Libya Investment Authority — Summary

May 12, 2013

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Note: The Libyan Investment Authority’s (LIA's) operations are currently in abeyance because of complications arising from the country’s ongoing civil war. The LIA has been run from interim offices in Malta since the outbreak of the conflict, which has led to the formation of two governments and two rival management teams that both claim ownership of the fund’s assets. The U.N.-recognized government is based in the eastern Libyan city of Tobruk, having been forced from the capital, Tripoli, by a rival Islamist government. The Tobruk government-in-exile appointed Hassan Bouhadi as chairman of the LIA in October 2014, but the chairmanship is also claimed by AbdulMagid Breish, a member of the Tripoli government. Breish was appointed in June 2013, but stepped aside from the role in the summer of 2014 to allow for an investigation into his affairs and conduct; he has since claimed to be reinstated by the Libyan Court of Appeal.

In August 2016, Bouhadi stepped down from the chairmanship of the LIA, citing the difficulties involved in managing a fund in a country torn by civil war. He was replaced by a five-member caretaker committee the day after his resignation. Although a new unity government of national accord, which contains officials from each of the two warring factions, has managed to reunite other state institutions split by the fighting, such as state oil firm National Oil Corp., the leadership of the LIA remains unresolved.

Please see the News page for further updates.

In 2006 the Libyan government decided to consolidate six extra-budgetary funds financed by its oil revenues under one sovereign wealth fund, the Libyan Investment Authority (LIA). Seif-al-Islam Gaddafi, son of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, was the driving force behind the formation of LIA as a vehicle to diversify public revenue away from natural resources.

At inception the government transferred $40 billion in cash to LIA and made it responsible for the following organizations:

  • Libyan Arab Foreign Investment Co. (Lafico), a global property holding company with sites in Europe, North Africa (Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria) and Pakistan (through Pak-Libya Holding Co.), and strategic assets such as a stake in Italian football club Juventus F.C..
  • Libyan Arab African Investment Co. (Laico or Laaico), holding mining assets in the Republic of Congo and Democratic Republic of the Congo.
  • Libyan African Investment Portfolio (LAP), a fund with stakes in Libya Oil Holdings (Tamoil Africa Holdings, Tamoil East Africa, Oilinvest, Libyan state-owned airline Afriqiyah Airways, Libya’s share of $500 million development agency Sahel-Saharan Investment and Trade Bank, telecom group LAP Green Network and Libyan Italian Advanced Technology Co.(Liatec), a joint venture with Italian aerospace group Finmeccanica.
  • The Long-Term Investment Portfolio, holding long-term stakes in financial assets.
  • The Economic and Social Development Fund (ESDF), also known as the Libyan Investment Development Fund.

Although LIA subscribed to the Santiago Principles, a set of voluntary guidelines to improve transparency of sovereign wealth funds, as a founding signatory in 2008, its operations and structure remained notoriously opaque. The extent to which the fund was carrying out its mandate remained unclear. Despite substantial international investment, LIA attracted little attention until 2011. That year the fund joined the list of assets close to the Gaddafi family to be frozen by the U.S. and the European Union as part of the sanctions targeting the Muammar Gaddafi regime for atrocities committed against Libyan citizens during the 2011 revolution. Since the regime’s overthrow, most of LIA’s assets have remained frozen, and the fund is still not fully operational.

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