Massive Surge in Corrupt, Criminal Operations in Libya Linked to Leaders
November 7, 2023 (Washington, DC) — A massive surge of corruption and organized crime in Libya orchestrated by the country’s rulers threatens the survival of essential institutions, is generating cascading regional and international security risks, and could spark major armed conflict, warns a new report released today by The Sentry.
The Sentry’s report, “Libya’s Kleptocratic Boom,” reveals a rapid expansion of illicit enterprises linked to Libya’s leaders, including human trafficking, fuel smuggling, narcotics, money laundering, currency manipulation, financial fraud, and the theft of billions of dollars in public assets.
John Prendergast, Co-Founder of The Sentry, said: “Corruption in Libya has been viewed for too long as an unfortunate but stable internal problem without international security implications. A rapid expansion in the trafficking in drugs, fuel, and human beings and the outright theft of billions of dollars in public assets is transforming the country into a hub of transnational crime and an increasing threat to regional and international security. The country’s kleptocratic rulers, in their reckless pursuit of power and profit, risk destroying their country’s economy and essential institutions and fueling a spiral into full-fledged armed conflict. International community warnings aimed at Libya’s current leaders without utilizing meaningful financial pressure only fuel this dangerous implosion.”
Oliver Windridge, Director of Illicit Finance Policy at The Sentry, said: “Post-2011, Libya was already notable for its myriad armed groups, which, despite their criminality, were accommodated by some in the international community for providing marginal services and a degree of security to local communities. Unfortunately, this strategy of appeasement has contributed to the entrenched influence of militias over state institutions and has provided free rein to plunder public resources. Worse yet, some of the highest Libyan officials have now adopted similar tactics. When engaging with Western powers, senior Libyan politicians and technocrats portray themselves as invaluable allies, promising collaboration on issues like terrorism, irregular migration, and hydrocarbon production. In fact, some of Libya’s leaders are at the heart of an array of brazen, multibillion-dollar criminal ventures. The US and other like-minded countries must show they are prepared to confront this accelerating threat by employing hard-hitting policy measures, including targeted network sanctions.”
Selected report excerpts:
Key recommendations (Read the full report for more detailed policy recommendations):
The Sentry’s report presents hard-hitting policy recommendations for governments, banks, and international institutions to aid in curbing the explosion of kleptocratic activity.
Read the full report by The Sentry, “Libya’s Kleptocratic Boom”: https://thesentry.org/reports/libyas-kleptocratic-boom
For media inquiries or interview requests, please contact: Greg Hittelman, Director of Communications, [email protected]
About The Sentry
(Short descriptor for press use: “The Sentry, an investigative organization that tracks corruption”)
The Sentry is an investigative and policy organization that seeks to disable multinational predatory networks that benefit from violent conflict, repression, and kleptocracy. Pull back the curtain on wars, mass atrocities, and other human rights abuses, and you’ll find grand corruption and unchecked greed. These tragedies persist because the perpetrators rarely face meaningful consequences. The Sentry aims to alter the warped incentive structures that continually undermine peace and good governance. Our investigations follow the money as it is laundered from war zones to financial centers around the world. We provide evidence and strategies for governments, banks, and law enforcement to hold the perpetrators and enablers of violence and corruption to account. These efforts provide new leverage for human rights, peace, and anti-corruption efforts. Learn more: www.TheSentry.org