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UK Foreign Affairs Committee: Saddek Elkaber is “financier of militias”

UK Foreign Affairs Committee: Saddek Elkaber is “financier of militias”

Saddek Elkaber, the Governor of the Central Bank of Libya (CBL), is a “well-known financier of militias and gangsters” who runs a “troubled organization”, said the U.K. Foreign Affairs Committee.

This comes in the aftermath of a meeting between Elkaber and Governor of Bank of England Andrew Bailey in July, which the British committee denounced due to allegations of corruption against Elkaber, according to a report by British newspaper The Express.

Tom Tugendhat, the committee’s chairman, criticized Bailey for meeting with Elkaber and accused him of “lending legitimacy” to “a well-known financier of militias and gangsters”.

Tugendhat blasted the meeting for “seeming to endorse the practices of a troubled organization.”

“Bailey has met with a man who has overseen an institution beset by fraud. London has been the centre for this enterprise for years,” said the British MP. “It is clear public money flows out of Libya, into London banks, and into the hands of gangsters and militias.

“To meet with a man like this is deeply unwise, it raises questions over the judgement of the Bank of England,” he said.

The comments come off the back of a report, which lays bare the role London plays in the criminal undertakings of the CBL.

The report by Global Witness highlighted the widespread use of LCs (letters of credit), which “distributes around $9 billion worth of foreign currency to businesses and public authorities every year.”

LCs are essentially a means of exporting cash, turning Libyan dinars into dollars, euros, pounds and other currencies which can be spent overseas.  While indispensable to meeting Libya’s import needs, the LC system has long been plagued by fraud and predation by armed groups.

The report found London, home to dozens of Libyan banks, played a key role in the operation: “Global Witness set out to examine the LC money trail, which stretches from the Central Bank of Libya (CBL) to Libyan-owned banks in the heart of London.”