ABC News' Mary Bruce Reports: The U.S. government has blocked a record $30 billion in Libyan assets since President Obama imposed sanctions on Friday, the largest amount ever frozen, the Treasury announced this afternoon.
“As of today, at least 30 billion dollars in government of Libya assets under United States jurisdiction have been blocked as a result of the executive order issued by President Obama,” Acting Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence David Cohen said on a conference call with reporters. “This is the largest blocking under any sanctions program ever.”
The $30 billion is a sum total of all of the assets that have been blocked, including assets of the government of Libya, the Central Bank of Libya and the Libyan Investment Authority. Cohen did not provide details as to how much belonged to the Gaddafi family versus the government and would not say which U.S. financial institutions were involved.
Asked about evidence of withdrawals in the days prior to the sanctions, Cohen explained “I don’t want to suggest that it certainly has not occurred, but we have not seen evidence that there was an effort to liquidate these accounts in the days preceding the execution of the executive order.”
Obama issued the executive order on Friday freezing the assets of Gaddafi and his children as well as the government of Libya and its agencies. On Saturday, the United Nations Security Council adopted resolution 1970, which froze the assets of Gaddafi and his five children. The UK then adopted complementary sanctions on Sunday and today the EU announced they are in the process of adopting their own sanctions.
“These blocking actions by the United States and by the UN, the UK and the EU serve two very important objectives, depriving Col Gadafi and his government of access to these assets and simultaneously safeguarding them for the Libyan people,” Cohen explained.
- Mary Bruce