By Padraig O'Hannelly.
The High Court in London has published the reasons for its recent decision to adjourn the case in which it was asked to decide which of the rival regimes in Libya should be treated as the government of the country.
The case arose from the fact that two competing appointments had been made to the Chairmanship of the country's $67-billion sovereign wealth fund, the Libyan Investment Authority (LIA), with Hassan Bouhadi being appointed by the then internationally recognised government in Tobruk, and AbdulMajid Breish holding the office at the LIA's Tripoli head office.
Judge William Blair (pictured) said that, considering the attempts to form a Government of National Accord (GNA), it "would be premature now to rule on the issue as to the chairmanship of the LIA."
He said the British government’s policy, in accordance with the position currently taken by the international community, is to place the chairmanship "within the sphere of the Government of National Accord", adding that the declarations which the court was invited to make would risk cutting across the stated position of the British government.
While the document gives a detailed account of the issued involved, the respective Chairmen of the rival LIA organisations have interpreted it in very different ways.
In a statement received by Libya Business News, Mr Bouhadi's office says "the English High Court has today confirmed the continued operations of the Libyan Investment Authority (LIA) from Malta," and "noted that the House of Representatives and its government based in Tobruk, have been acknowledged as legitimate by the British Government and have achieved international recognition."
Mr Breish describes this assertion as "simply untrue, and a wilful and regrettable misrepresentation of Hon. Mr Justice Blair’s judgment," adding that the "UK Government’s position has been clearly set out ... stating: '… Her Majesty’s Government has not recognised as the Government of Libya either the ‘Tobruk government’ or the ‘Tripoli government’'".
The court gave each of the parties liberty to restore the proceedings; in the meantime, the court cases being taken by the LIA against Goldman Sachs and Societe Generale (SocGen), relating to alleged mismanagement of funds, will be conducted through a Receiver.