23 Oct 2011

Gaddafi hid huge amounts of money in secret funds

7:06 am on 23 October 2011

Senior Libyan officials say Muammar Gaddafi secretly salted away more than $US200 billion in bank accounts, real estate and corporate investments around the world before he was killed.

The figure is about double the amount Western governments previously had suspected.

Revelation of the size of the portfolio may stir anger among Libyans -about one-third of whom live in poverty.

And it is likely to spur an effort to return the money to Libya's transitional government, which says it wants to embark on ambitious plan to modernise the country after nearly 42 years of Colonel Gaddafi's rule.

It is believed he made lucrative investments in nearly every major country, including much of the Middle East and Southeast Asia.

US leads call for open investigation into death

There are growing calls for the Libyan authorities to give a full account of the death of Colonel Gaddafi.

There are differing accounts of the dictator's deaths with acting Prime Minister Mahmoud Jibril saying he had been shot in the head in an exchange of fire between Gaddafi loyalists and NTC fighters in Sirte.

But there are questions as to why some video footage shows Gaddafi alive after his capture by NTC fighters and soon after dead.

The United States said the National Transitional Council should carry out an investigation in an "open and transparent manner", the BBC reports.

The United Nations and Russia have both called for a full investigation, after airing concerns about the video footage.

Colonel Gaddafi's widow is also calling for a UN investigation, according to Syrian-based television station Arrai.

A coroner in the city of Misrata is expected to carry out a post-mortem.

Burial delayed

His burial has been delayed with officials divided about what to do with the body.

Under Islamic tradition, burial should have taken place as soon as possible.

However, the body is being held in a cold store in Misrata while arrangements for the burial are made. People have been queuing to see the body.

Some reports say negotiations are taking place with members of Colonel Gaddafi's tribe to have him buried in secret and prevent the grave site becoming a place of pilgrimage.

NATO looking at exit plan

NATO ambassadors have agreed the alliance can now end its mission in Libya following the death of Muammar Gaddafi.

Secretary-general Anders Fogh Rasmussen says the alliance plans to be out of Libya by the end of the month.

The decision was made at meeting in Brussels to discuss the air and sea campaign which began seven months ago.

Mr Rasmussen says NATO will monitor the situation and retain the capacity to respond to threats to civilians if needed.