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Updated: March 4, 2011 09:20 IST

U.S. freezes $32 billion Qadhafi assets

PTI
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Security personnel stand guard as Libyan Leader Muammar Qadhafi is seen on a television screen, as he speaks in Tripoli on Wednesday. The U.S. has frozen assets worth $32 billion of Qadhafi and the Libyan regime.
AP Security personnel stand guard as Libyan Leader Muammar Qadhafi is seen on a television screen, as he speaks in Tripoli on Wednesday. The U.S. has frozen assets worth $32 billion of Qadhafi and the Libyan regime.

The U.S. has so far frozen assets worth $32 billion of the authoritarian Libyan regime and its leader Muammar Qadhafi, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said.

This follows an executive order, signed by President Barack Obama, that directed to freeze the assets of Col. Qadhafi and four of his children, as well as the assets of Libyan government and its agencies, including the central bank and Libyan Investment Authority — the nation’s sovereign wealth fund.

“Thus far we’ve found and seized almost $32 billion in assets — $30 billion initially and we found another $1.9 billion just in the last couple days,” Mr. Geithner said while appearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee at a Congressional hearing.

“This is the most effective and the quickest and the most forceful use of our authorities under the Emergency Economic International Emergency Powers Act that we’ve ever done, and I want to just emphasise our commitment to make sure that we’re working with countries around the world to help make sure this broader effort has as much force as possible,” he said.

“We hold them (frozen assets) and prevent any transfer of funds from those accounts until we have a resolution of the underlying problems that gave rise to the act, to the seizure. So they’re frozen in the purest sense of the word,” Mr. Geithner said in response to a question from Senator Richard Lugar, the Republican member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

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