By Libya Herald reporters.
Tunis, 8 March 2016:
A British judge has accepted UK government advice to wait for the formation of the . . .[restrict]new Government of National Accord before ruling on who should be running the Libyan Investment Authority.
High Court Judge Sir William Blair, brother of the former prime minister Tony Blair, said that the British government had written to the court that it accepted that the House of Representatives was the legislative authority of the Libyan state. The GNA was waiting on the HoR’s approval of its proposed cabinet. Thereafter, the British government said , “there may be clarification of the leadership of the LIA”.
Under the contentious supplementary Article 8 of the Libyan Political Accord, power to appoint the leadership of the LIA, along with that of the Central Bank and the armed forces would rest with the new Presidency Council headed by prime minister-designate Faiez Serraj.
Judge Blair did not deal with the argument that as the legislative authority, the HoR itself last year appointed new LIA management under Hassan Bouhadi to replace the executive team led by AbdulMajid Breish.
The issue is being dealt with in London because the LIA is suing Goldman Sachs and Societe Generale in the British courts for what it claims was calamitous advice and investment mismanagement for which it is seeking $3 billion.
Both rival LIA management teams have fought in the courts for control of the action and by extension the control of all the LIA’s $67 billion portfolio.
Tripoli-based Breish has argued that the LIA’s funds should remain frozen. Bouhadi said after yesterday’s ruling that despite the fragile situation in the country, his LIA board remained hopeful there would soon be a Government of National Accord.
“However, until then,” he said, “the Board of Directors of the LIA has a duty to do everything it can do to protect the assets of the LIA. Not doing so would deprive the Libyan people of billions of dollars”.
He continued: “The Board of Directors feels strongly that it cannot let the sense of entitlement of one man acting in association with those who have rejected and frustrated the democratic process override an established Government protocol. This protocol is enshrined in law and designed to protect Libya’s sovereign wealth from just such an attack.” [/restrict]