“No assets of the Libyan Central Bank have been stolen, gold or otherwise,” declared the bank’s new governor, according to a Reuters dispatch out of Tripoli. Here’s the dispatch:
TRIPOLI (REUTERS) –
Libya’s central bank, under control of the country’s new leaders, said on Thursday none of its assets had been stolen and that it had sold 29 tonnes of gold to help pay salaries.
“No assets of the Libyan Central Bank have been stolen, gold or otherwise,” the bank’s new governor Gassem Azzoz told reporters in Tripoli, adding that if fallen leader Muammar Gaddafi had taken gold, it was not from central bank coffers.
Only a few days ago, supposedly credible witnesses said that hundreds of trucks were seen leaving Libya loaded with gold. Now, only days after “new leaders” have taken over, 29 tons have been sold to “help pay salaries.” Is Libya’s gold really safe?
Twenty nine tons at $1850 gold would be some$1.7 billion dollars. That’s a lot of money to “help pay” salaries. Supposedly, Libya was financially sound, being one of the world’s largest oil exporters. So, why was it necessary to sell the family jewels to meet payroll?
I’m not so sure that Libya’s gold is safe, nor its other assets, especially its oil.
Today, September 9, 2011, the Financial Times reported that the Gaddafi regime sold more than $1bn of Libya’s gold reserves in its final months as it tried to survive the rebel takeover, NATO bombings and international financial sanctions. The gold sold was about one fifth of Libya’s gold reserves.
This report conflicts with yesterday’s Reuters release that said “none of its (the Libyan central bank’s) assets had been stolen and that it had sold 29 tonnes of gold to help pay salaries.” Now it appears that it was the Gaddafi’s regime that sold the 29 to pay salaries, not the new regime.
Regardless, we now know that 29 tons of gold were dropped on the market in the last few months, a development that undoubtedly added to gold’s price volatility.