By Padraig O'Hannelly.
The battle for control of Libya's $67-billion sovereign wealth fund took a new twist on Wednesday, with one of the sides initiating proceedings in the Commercial Court in London to settle the question as to who has the ultimate authority to appoint the Board of Directors to manage the fund's UK-based assets.
The action was taken by the Malta-based arm of the Libyan Investment Authority (LIA), which is controlled by the internationally recognised government in Tobruk.
Chairman Hassan Bouhadi said in a statement:
"In the unlikely event that a unity government is not forthcoming during 2015, the UK court is the right place to test and settle these erroneous claims in order to protect the LIA’s assets in the UK, and to be fair to all those dealing with the LIA in the UK, including the proceedings involving Goldman Sachs and Société Générale."
But the company's Tripoli-based Chairman, AbdulMagid Breish, hit back, describing the move as:
“... a cynical and unfortunate attempt by Mr Bouhadi to obtain a partisan advantage ahead of the completion of the UN process, which is plainly contrary to the spirit of the UN process and is to the detriment of the LIA and to the security and prosperity of Libya ... Mr Bouhadi has once again demonstrated that his motivation is personal and he is willing to subordinate the LIA’s interest to his own."
The two sides had recently agreed to appoint a receiver to represent the company in its case against Goldman Sachs and Societe Generale (SocGen).
(Court image via Shutterstock)