Malta seizes $1 bn in fake Libyan money ‘printed by Russian firm’

Counterfeit Libyan currency is adding to the country’s economic woes, the US warned. (Shutterstock)
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Updated 31 May 2020

Malta seizes $1 bn in fake Libyan money ‘printed by Russian firm’

  • ‘This incident once again highlights the need for Russia to cease its destabilizing actions in Libya’

VALLETTA: Maltese authorities have seized counterfeit Libyan money worth $1.1 billion that was printed by a Russian firm and worsen the north African country’s economic problems, the US State Department said.

There was no official statement on Saturday from Valletta although Malta Today newspaper had published a report about $1.1 billion in counterfeit money seized in Malta on its Facebook site that was no longer available.

“The US commends the Government of the Republic of Malta’s announcement May 26 of its seizure of $1.1 billion of counterfeit Libyan currency printed by Joint Stock Company Goznak — a Russian state-owned company — and ordered by an illegitimate parallel entity,” the State Department said.

“The central bank of Libya headquartered in Tripoli is Libya’s only legitimate central bank,” the US diplomatic arm said in a statement.

“The influx of counterfeit, Russian-printed Libyan currency in recent years has exacerbated Libya’s economic challenges,” it added.

Washington vowed to continue working with the UN and international partners “to deter illicit activities that undermine Libya’s sovereignty and stability,” it added.

Such actions “are inconsistent with internationally recognized sanctions regimes,” the statement said. “This incident once again highlights the need for Russia to cease its malign and destabilizing actions in Libya.”

UN experts issued a report last December to the UN Security Council saying Goznak JSC had delivered between 2016 and 2018 to the parallel central bank in the east of the country the equivalent of some $7.11 billion in Libyan money.

Since Moamer Kadhafi’s regime fell in 2011, Libya has been plunged into chaos.

Two authorities dispute power in Libya: The Government of National Accord of Fayez Al-Sarraj, which is recognised by the UN and based in Tripoli; and a parallel government in the east headed by Khalifa Haftar.

The US military has also said that Russia recently sent warplanes to Libya to support mercenaries on the ground fighting beside Haftar’s forces.

Saudi Arabia’s 6-point plan to jumpstart global economy

Updated 07 July 2020

Saudi Arabia’s 6-point plan to jumpstart global economy

  • Policy recommendations to G20 aim to counter effects of pandemic

DUBAI: Saudi Arabia, in its capacity as president of the G20 group of nations, has unveiled a six-point business plan to jump start the global economy out of the recession brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Yousef Al-Benyan, the chairman of the B20 business group within the G20, told a webinar from Riyadh that the response to the pandemic -— including the injection of $5 trillion into the global economy — had been “reassuring.”

But he warned that the leading economies of the world had to continue to work together to mitigate the effects of global lockdowns and to address the possibility of a “second wave” of the disease.

“Cooperation and collaboration between governments, global governance institutions and businesses is vital for an effective and timely resolution of this multi-dimensional contagion transcending borders,” Al-Benyan said.

“The B20 is strongly of the view there is no alternative to global cooperation, collaboration and consensus to tide over a multi-dimensional and systemic crisis,” he added.

The six-point plan, contained in a special report to the G20 leadership with input from 750 global business leaders, sets out a series of policy recommendations to counter the effects of the disease which threaten to spark the deepest economic recession in nearly a century.

The document advocates policies to build health resilience, safeguard human capital, and prevent financial instability.

It also promotes measures to free up global supply chains, revive productive economic sectors, and digitize the world economy “responsibly and inclusively.”

In a media question-and-answer session to launch the report, Al-Benyan said that among the top priorities for business leaders were the search for a vaccine against the virus that has killed more than half-a-million people around the world, and the need to reopen global trade routes slammed shut by economic lockdowns.

He said that the G20 response had been speedy and proactive, especially in comparison with the global financial crisis of 2009, but he said that more needed to be done, especially to face the possibility that the disease might surge again. “Now is not the time to celebrate,” he warned.

“Multilateral institutions and mechanisms must be positively leveraged by governments to serve their societies and must be enhanced wherever necessary during and after the pandemic,” he said, highlighting the role of the World Health Organization, the UN and the International Monetary Fund, which have come under attack from some world leaders during the pandemic.

Al-Benyan said that policy responses to the pandemic had been “designed according to each country’s requirements.”

Separately, the governor of the Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority said that it was “too early” to say if the Kingdom’s economy would experience a sharp “V-shape” recovery from pandemic recession.