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Uncle Sam Sent $5,000,000,000 to Qaddafi Bank

Posted on Thursday, 31st March 2011 @ 10:28 PM by Text Size A | A | A

By Donal Griffin and Bob Ivry – Mar 31, 2011

Arab Banking Corp., a lender part- owned by the Central Bank of Libya, used a branch in New York to borrow at least $5 billion from the U.S. Federal Reserve as credit markets seized up in 2008 and 2009.

The bank, then 29 percent-owned by the Libyan state, drew $1.1 billion from the Fed’s so-called discount window in October 2008, including $450 million during the week when hundreds of financial firms borrowed a record amount of emergency funding from the U.S lending program, according to data released by the Fed today. Arab Banking Corp. also owed about $4 billion to the Fed under other bailout programs in the fall of 2009, data released in December show.

The U.S. government has since frozen assets linked to the regime of Libyan ruler Muammar Qaddafi and engaged in air strikes against his military forces as they battle a rebel uprising in the North African country. Arab Banking Corp. received an exemption that allows the firm to continue operating while prohibiting it from engaging in any transactions with the government of Libya, according to the Treasury Department.

Libya’s stake in Manama, Bahrain-based Arab Banking Corp. increased to 59 percent in December 2010, the company said on Dec. 2.

David Siegel, treasurer of Arab Banking Corp.’s branch on Park Avenue in midtown Manhattan, declined to comment when contacted. The bank’s board is chaired by Mohammed Hussain Layas, chief executive officer of the Libyan Investment Authority. The CEO is Bahrain-based Hassan Ali Juma.

Bloomberg News has posted the Fed documents for Bloomberg Professional Service subscribers, as well as online at www.bloomberg.com.

To contact the reporters on this story: Donal Griffin in New York at Dgriffin10@bloomberg.net; Bob Ivry in New York at bivry@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: David Scheer at dscheer@bloomberg.net.

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