Libya’s sovereign wealth fund, the Libyan Investment Authority (LIA), had some success in London Commercial Court. The LIA is bringing an end to three receiverships first established by the English Courts in 2015 and conclusively affirming the authority of the LIA’s current leadership. This decision will eliminate third-party influence over the LIA’s affairs in the U.K. and return control of major assets and multiple pieces of litigation to the sovereign wealth fund. This means that unwanted costs can be avoided and, subject to compliance with all applicable sanctions regimes, assets can now be unlocked and deployed for the benefit of the Libyan people. The Court’s decision also removes a significant layer of additional costs associated with having the receiverships in place. Following the receiverships’ discharge, further funds and resources can now be made available for the day-to-day operations and activities of the LIA and used to further enhance its operating efficiency. This milestone follows a series of landmark legal victories for the LIA, including decisive rulings by the English Commercial Court and Court of Appeal earlier this year on Dr Mahmoud’s authority and chairmanship. That authority was reaffirmed by the reappointment by the LIA’s Board of Trustees of Dr Mahmoud as chairman for a further three-year term in November 2020.
The receiverships were first established by the English Courts between 2015 and 2017 in response to a dispute over who had authority to represent the LIA as chairman, to help manage several lawsuits ongoing in the UK at the time. The receiverships were only ever intended to be temporary.
Dr Ali Mahmoud Hassan Mohammed, Chairman of the LIA, said in a press release, “This is a significant milestone and another positive step forward in our ongoing bid to preserve and grow Libya’s assets for the benefit of current and future generations. The LIA will continue to implement our strategy of asset protection to prevent the depletion of these funds, and safeguard the wealth of the Libyan people for the long-term.”
LIA remains locked in to freeing up its assets. LIA is trying to make its case to the United Nations and other governments that it plans to go operate its sovereign wealth fund with transparency and enact strong governance controls. However, Libya remains in a conflict state, which has given pause from some member states at the UN. Libya’s opposing factions agreed in October 2020 to cease fighting, which triggered a peace process that could lead to possible elections on December 24, 2021.