No freeze on local Libyan assets

Central Bank decision covers Arbfit and Arab Banking Corporation

The Central Bank has told banks not to freeze any assets owned by Libya in local or regional banking institutions that are partly held by the north African Arab country, a newspaper reported on Saturday.

In a circular to the country’s 23 national banks and 28 foreign units, the Central Bank mentioned such institutions with Libyan shareholding as the Abu Dhabi-based Arab Bank for Investment and Foreign Trade (Arbift) and the Arab Banking Corporation (ABC), a major offshore unit based in Bahrain.

“The circular asked banks not to freeze the account owned by any institution partly held by Libya or its establishments which operate abroad, including Arbift and ABC,” the Arabic language daily Emarat Alyoum said.

Libya’s central bank holds 42.28 per cent of Arbfit, which is registered as a UAE banking establishment. The UAE federal government controls an equal share while 15.44 per cent is owned by Banque Exterieure d'Algerie, which is wholly owned by the Algerian government.

Emarat Alyoum said the circular was sent to all banks, investment companies and other financial firms by Abdul Rahman Al Awadi, executive director of the anti-money laundering and suspicious cases unit at the central bank.

“As for the international decision to freeze Libyan assets, the UAE has dealt with this issue separately,” Awadi told the paper.

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