26 tons of gold bars: they tried to take a quarter of the country’s gold reserves out of Libya (5 photos)

22 May 2024

The Prosecutor General's Office found that the general director and the head of customs conspired with other criminals to take about $2 billion worth of gold out of the country.

Libyan authorities have arrested several high-ranking customs officials who were trying to take two billion dollars worth of gold out of the country. The shipment represents almost a quarter of Libya's gold reserves of about 116.6 tons, the fourth largest in Africa.

According to a post on the Facebook page of the Prosecutor General's Office, the detainees, including the director general of the customs authority and the head of customs at Misrata airport, allegedly conspired with others to transport about 26 tons of gold bars. At current prices it would cost about $2 billion.

Libya has been mired in chaos since dictator Muammar al-Qaddafi was overthrown in 2011, leading to political division, instability and violence.

The Sentry, a US-based non-governmental group that investigates gold trading in conflict zones, said Libya had become a hub for gold trafficking over the past decade.

Libyan law states that only the central bank can export gold, said the agency, which began investigating the matter in January.

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