Libyan Investment Authority CEO Succeeds in Having INTERPOL Red Notice Withdrawn

May 16, 2023
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Dr. Ali Mohammed Hassen (Dr. Ali), CEO of sovereign wealth fund the Libyan Investment Authority (LIA), has successfully challenged an INTERPOL Red Notice. The Red Notice related to a long-running dispute between the LIA and Prince Laurent of Belgium, which Dr. Ali’s legal team has always maintained is politically motivated and an abuse of judicial process.  The withdrawal of the INTERPOL Red Notice is a major vindication of Dr. Ali’s position.

In reaching its decision, the Commission for the Control of INTERPOL’s Files ruled that the case was clearly politically charged and thus would jeopardize INTERPOL’s neutrality under Article 3 of its Constitution.

Consequently, the INTERPOL Commission ruled that the retention of data concerning Dr. Ali by the INTERPOL National Central Bureau (NCB) of Belgium was not compliant with INTERPOL’s rules and ordered the deletion of the Red Notice and its wider dissemination.

The underlying issue concerning the Red Notice relates to a political dispute between Prince Laurent of Belgium and  the Libyan Ministry of Agriculture relating to  a failed reforestation project in Libya, agreed with Libya’s regime in 2008 when Dr. Ali was still a student.

Prince Laurent has subsequently made numerous attempts to seize LIA funds in relation to this contractual dispute, which the LIA has always maintained has nothing to do with Dr. Ali nor the LIA. In fact, there has never been a contractual relationship between the LIA and Prince Laurent’s Global Sustainable Development Trust (GSDT).

The LIA and its legal team welcomed the Commission’s decision. They argue that the Red Notice was part of a broader campaign to discredit the reputation of the LIA as a major sovereign wealth fund, and to damage Dr. Ali’s own personal and professional reputation.

Dr. Ali said: “I am pleased and relieved that the INTERPOL Commission saw this case exactly for what it is: a politically motivated campaign against me and the LIA. I have been prevented from undertaking my duties managing the LIA’s funds for the people of Libya. and my reputation as a business leader has been seriously attacked and damaged within the international financial community.

“The deletion of this Red Notice is a major step forward in enabling the LIA to move forward with its major programme of investment on behalf of the people of Libya and allows me to continue to serve the people of Libya.”

The INTERPOL Commission further ruled that all NCBs should update their databases accordingly, and that all international police cooperation via INTERPOL’s channels in this case would not be in conformity with INTERPOL’s Constitution and Rules.

Mr Kalilou Fadiga,  Principal Solicitor to Dr. Ali in this case, said: “This is a major victory for the LIA and Dr. Ali. The Red Notice was simply one part of this campaign to seize LIA funds inappropriately instead of resolving the dispute through the proper legal channels. The Commission’s decision has confirmed our contention that this was always a political issue that should have been resolved through the appropriate channels.”

Case background

Dr. Ali has been the Chairman of the Board of Directors and CEO of the Libyan Investment Authority, the sovereign wealth fund of Libya, since 2017. The LIA was established in August 2006 and is independent from the Libyan state.

Due to severe political instability in Libya in 2011, the United Nations (UN) Security Council Committee ordered to freeze all funds owned or controlled by Muammar Gaddafi, including the LIA’s. In 2018, the LIA’s assets frozen in Belgium were worth €14 billion ($17 billion).

From 2011 to the end of October 2017, the LIA was legally paid the interest yielded by its funds frozen in Belgium. The payments were authorised by the Belgian Ministry of Finance.

The commercial dispute between Dr. Ali and Prince Laurent of Belgium concerns a failed reforestation scheme between Global Sustainable Development Trust (GSDT), an entity headed by Prince Laurent, the brother of the Belgian King, and the regime of the late Muammar Gaddafi in 2008.

As a result, Prince Laurent and the Belgian authorities started a litigious and political campaign against Dr. Ali and the LIA to recoup the LIA funds in relation to this contractual dispute via an INTERPOL Red Notice, which has now been deleted, and a European arrest warrant, which is being contested in the courts.

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