Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Banking With Gaddafi

Who are Libya's bankers?
And who/what exactly is "the Libyan Investment Authority" (its sovereign wealth fund)?
The folks at Zerohedge asked "Which US Banks Are Managing Billions For The $32 Billion Libyan Sovereign Wealth Fund?"

...and based on data from Wikileaks, it was disclosed that various US banks manage billions for Libya - the country which just saw $30 billion of its assets largely frozen (although this is merely half of its total deposits).

Courtesy of Marcus Baram of the Huffington Post it was discovered that the key banks that serve as advisors and asset managers are Goldman Sachs (and not just anyone, but Jim "Revolutions are Bullish" O'Neill's Goldman Sachs Asset Management, L.P. [GSAM]), Citi and JP Morgan.

Are you surprised?
I'm not.

Looks like the makings of a real public relations nightmare for them.. but maybe not.
Most Americans could care less.
They don't seem to mind that these bankers have been doing business with Gaddafi.

Huffington Post says this:
The secretive Libyan Investment Authority has reportedly invested hundreds of millions of dollars in Goldman Sachs Asset Management funds, including a loan fund designed to invest in new hedge funds set up by the Kuwait Investment Authority. Goldman Sachs already has a relationship with Libya -- in 2008, Goldman was the first U.S. bank to get a contract with the country following the removal of sanctions, when it was hired by Libya's central bank to provide information on its behalf to credit rating agencies. A spokesperson for Goldman Sachs did not return calls seeking comment.

The Libyan government, including LIA, has also banked with Citigroup, according to several sources familiar with the matter. A spokesperson for Citigroup declined to comment on the bank's interactions with the Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control, which is in charge of carrying out Obama's order regarding Libyan assets.

JPMorgan Chase reportedly handles much of the LIA's cash and some of the Libyan central bank's reserves. The summer after then-Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice visited Gaddafi in 2008, LIA gave "mandates to some of the international banks, including JPMorgan to manage their funds in the interbank money markets, according to Vanity Fair.
But what is most illuminating is the involvement of the Washington DC private equity firm, and alleged CIA front organization, The Carlyle Group:
Two years ago, the Carlyle Group's co-founder and managing director, David Rubenstein, and Blackstone chief executive Steven Schwarzman traveled to the Libyan capital of Tripoli to help celebrate the wedding of Mustafa Zarti, the deputy director of the LIA, in a massive tent set up on the outskirts of the city, reported the Financial Times. And when Gaddafi's son and longtime likely successor, Saif al-Islam, visited New York in November 2008, Schwarzman hosted a lunch for him at the Blackstone CEO's Park Avenue apartment. The younger Gaddafi was also honored on that trip by Carlyle's retired chairman, former defense secretary Frank Carlucci, who hosted a dinner for him in a private room at the City Club.

Imagine that...
Goldman Sachs, Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase and the Carlyle Group.
Weren't these the same banks that got taxpayer dollars to bail them out?
The same taxpayer dollars that your sons and grandsons and great grandsons will have to pay for.

Do you suppose they are also managing Mahmoud Ahmadinehjad's money too?

Related: The Dictator's Dough