Belgium’s Prince Laurent — the youthful brother of King Philippe — has been accused of fraud and extortion by Libya’s sovereign wealth fund, attorneys from the Libyan Investment Authority stated Friday.
The transfer is the most recent step in a yearslong dispute between the Libyan authority and the brother of the king over disputed compensation from a failed reforestation challenge run via his NGO Global Sustainable Development Trust (GSDT) within the North African nation in 2008. The challenge collapsed after the outbreak of civil battle in 2011.
The LIA alleges that the prince exerted “unacceptable pressure” in his try and receive almost €70 million of compensation he says he’s owed by the Libyan Ministry for Agriculture. Over the years, Prince Laurent’s authorized battle has prompted federal prosecutors to grab billions of euros value of Libyan belongings and sparked a parliamentary inquiry into the curiosity payouts.
Law agency Jus Cogens, which represents the LIA, stated it filed a civil swimsuit on Thursday, which, in line with Belgian legislation, makes it necessary for an investigating Justice of the Peace to open a judicial investigation.
“It’s pathetic,” Laurent Arnauts, Prince Laurent’s lawyer, stated in a press release. “The Libyan dignitaries try to save lots of face as a result of they’ve simply misplaced a thirteenth time earlier than the Belgian courts and in Luxembourg.
“It’s normal for a creditor to try to enforce a court decision in his favor — it’s not extortion. Try telling your energy supplier otherwise,” he added, in reference to a 2011 courtroom choice ordering Libya to pay the prince €38,479,041 in damages for wrongful breach of a reforestation contract.
The LIA and its attorneys declare they’ve proof displaying that the prince allegedly tried to acquire the cash by claiming he might drastically affect the course of an ongoing investigation that has led to the seizure of €15 billion from the LIA’s financial institution accounts in Belgium and the issuance of an arrest warrant towards the its CEO, Ali Mohammed Hassan.
The LIA was established in August 2006 and claims it’s impartial of the Libyan state. The United Nations Security Council Committee, nevertheless, has ordered the freezing of all funds owned or managed by Muammar Gaddafi, which included the LIA.
“We have been left with no option but to launch a criminal case against Prince Laurent. We have communicated factual elements to the investigative judge showing, according to us, that Prince Laurent abused his status as a public office-holder, claiming he could influence the criminal procedure against LIA and his CEO,” LIA’s lawyer Christophe Marchand stated in a press release.
In Belgium, influence-trading might be punished by a jail sentence of six months to 4 years and a superb of as much as €10,000; fraud can lead to a jail sentence of 1 month to 5 years and a superb of as much as €3,000; and extortion might be punished with 5 to 10 years in jail.