Libyan Wealth Fund Control Dispute Reaches London Court

  • Disagreement mirrors battles for control of Libyan government
  • LIA suing Goldman, SocGen for more than $1 billion each

The two men competing for control of Libya’s $67 billion sovereign wealth fund asked a London judge to decide who has the right to oversee lawsuits seeking to recover billions of dollars lost in deals with Societe Generale SA and Goldman Sachs Group Inc.

Abdulmagid Breish, who is based in Tripoli, and Hassan Bouhadi, who wants to lead the LIA from Malta, both argue they are the sole chairman of the fund. Judge William Blair delayed the London court case Monday pending efforts by the Government of National Accord to establish a unified cabinet of ministers in Libya, according to a spokesman for Breish.

The 2011 overthrow and death of Libyan dictator Muammar Qaddafi left behind a violent power struggle that continues to blight the oil-rich nation. Rival factions in Tripoli and Tobruk have failed to agree on a United Nations-backed unity government, deepening a power vacuum that has allowed Islamic State to gain.

Bouhadi says his authority stems from the Tobruk government, which is internationally recognized, according to documents filed by his lawyers Monday. Breish says he is the rightful chairman of the LIA under Libyan law.

Last year, a London court appointed BDO LLP to manage billion-dollar lawsuits filed by the LIA against Societe Generale and Goldman Sachs over failed Qaddafi-era investment deals until the dispute over who runs the sovereign wealth fund is resolved. Both banks are contesting the allegations.

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