The whereabouts of the governor of Libya’s central bank, the man who holds the key to the Gaddafi regime’s finances, have confounded officials, diplomats and bankers who have been desperate to find him over the past two weeks.
Farhat Omar Bengdara has spent much of the time since the outbreak of the uprising against Muammer Gaddafi outside Libya but it is has been unclear whether he supported the regime or was co-operating with the opposition. Read more
Data from the Treasury International Capital system have always got a lot of stick. The system is meant to show foreign holdings of US assets broken down by country (and vice versa) but has a big problem with ‘custodial bias’: it struggles to track funds beyond the financial centre where they are held, e.g. the UK, Switzerland, the Channel Islands, various dodgy Caribbean destinations etc.
Recent sanctions on Libya have created a fascinating natural experiment on just how big that ‘custodial bias’ actually is. Does the amount of Libyan assets in the US reported to TIC match up with the amount of Libyan assets frozen in the US? Answer: a resounding ‘No’. Read more
Libya’s central bank plans to issue two licences for foreign banks to set up units in the country. Foreign banks will have full management control of the new lenders and a 49 per cent stake, the Tripoli-based central bank told Bloomberg today. The remaining 51 per cent will be held by domestic investors. The banks, which must have international presence and a healthy credit rating, must express their interest by March 30. Read more