Libya’s SWF removes chairman over alleged Gaddafi link

14 July 2014   Category: News, Global, Middle East, Africa   By Daniel Shane

The Libyan Investment Authority (LIA), the North African sovereign wealth fund (SWF) with assets amounting to US$66 billion, has replaced its chairman amid an investigation into his alleged links to former dictator Muammar Gaddafi.

A statement from the LIA said that Abdulmagid Breish had been asked to leave his role on the back of an inquiry resulting from the country’s Political Isolation Law, which is intended to purge officials who served under Mr. Gaddafi. Mr. Breish has subsequently been replaced by former oil and gas minister Abduhrahman Benyezza.

Mr. Breish had been the LIA’s chairman and interim chief executive officer for just over a year. He told Bloomberg that he would be appealing the decision to remove him via Libya’s Constitutional Court.

Under Mr. Breish’s stewardship the LIA, established in 2006, was undergoing major structural reforms following years of mismanagement during Mr. Gaddafi’s reign.

In April, he said in an interview that the LIA planned to hire external firms to manage about $11 billion of its assets, and would begin to invest more overseas.

Mr. Breish also said that the LIA would invest billions of dollars into local infrastructure and the equities market.

The LIA is Africa’s second largest sovereign wealth fund by assets following Algeria’s Revenue Regulation Fund. It was established to invest Libya’s oil surpluses, and owns stakes in Italy’s Unicredit and defence firm Finmeccanica.