Gaddafi’s widow appeals Malta court ruling to send funds to Libya

Safiya Ferkash says Malta lacks jurisdiction over the funds deposited by her late son Mutassim Gaddafi.

Mutassim Gaddafi reportedly arrested in Sirte
Then-Libyan national security adviser, Mutassim Gaddafi, is shown posing for photos at the Department of State in Washington, DC, in April 2009 [File: Alex Wong/Getty Images]

The widow of former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi has appealed a decision by a Malta court ordering the Bank of Valletta to return to Libya some 95 million euros ($100m) deposited by Gaddafi’s late son Mutassim, court officials said.

Safiya Ferkash and her lawyers argue in their appeal that the courts lacked jurisdiction and could not decide the case over the funds.

The sentence was delivered at the end of June after a legal battle that started in 2012, a year after Gaddafi was overthrown and killed.

Mutassim, who was also killed, was found in possession of several Bank of Valletta (BOV) credit cards as the owner of a Maltese-registered company. The Libyan state had accused BOV of failing to carry out proper due diligence checks that should have prevented Gaddafi opening an account in the first place.

The appeal was filed on behalf of the Gaddafi heirs by Maltese lawyer Louis Cassar Pullicino. No date for a hearing has been set yet.

According to the Times of Malta, the court had last month ordered that the funds be released to the Libyan state.

The funds, held under a Maltese company called Capital Resources Limited, was always considered by the Libyan government as illicit gains and not private funds.

The original court had upheld arguments by Libya’s attorney general that according to Libyan law, as an army officer, Mutassim had been precluded from drawing benefits from any business interests.

Moreover, he had failed to submit a full declaration of assets as required by law.

In her appeal, Safiya Ferkash Mohammed argued that the Libyan laws invoked in the case were criminal ones but that no criminal case was ever initiated against Mutassim Gaddafi or his heirs.

Furthermore, the Maltese courts were asked to grant Libya a remedy pursuant to a foreign penal law whereas in principle a domestic court cannot apply the penal law of a foreign state to grant such remedy.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies