"Goldman Sachs and HSBC together held $335 million of the Libyan oil fund's assets, while Societe Generale held $1 billion in structured products for the fund, Global Witness said on Thursday." Thank you Reuters for confirming that a crazy conspiracy blog (although with 3MM/mo uniques that may need redefinition) occasionally ends up being proven right. Of course, there is nothing wrong with that. Oh wait, there is. Perhaps it is time to inquire not only into Goldman's alleged perjury (Your honor, St.OMO is not the Discount Window, we swear), but also into the firm's (don't laugh) anti-money laundering "rules" (a topic also discussed here).
The campaigning group for development issues said it had obtained a document from 2010 showing the Libyan Investment Authority (LIA) held assets of $53 billion as of June 2010 -- lower than the previous estimate of around $70 billion.
The report gives a rare insight into the working of the secretive LIA, detailing the extent of involvement of Western banks in the state-owned fund whose assets have been frozen since March by the United States, Europe and Japan among others.
Global Witness said HSBC held $293 million across 10 accounts, while Goldman had $43 million in three accounts, denominated in dollars, pounds, Swiss francs, euros and Canadian dollars. Goldman Sachs and HSBC both declined comment.
And while we are at it, why not investigate the anti-money laundering provisions at JPMorgan, SocGen and Och-Ziff:
Almost $4 billion of the LIA's funds were placed in structured products. Societe Generale managed $1 billion, JP Morgan $171 million and U.S.-based asset manager OCH-ZIFF $329 million.
The document also showed the LIA owned billions of dollars of shares in blue-chip companies such as BP (BP.L), Deutsche Telekom (DTEGn.DE), General Electric (GE.N) and Vivendi (VIV.PA).
Much of the LIA's assets have been frozen after the United States and Europe imposed financial sanctions in March, following an earlier embargo on money held by leader Mummar Gaddafi and his family.
This means the LIA can't dump its shares of CNBC 49% parent General Electric, whose objective reporting on all matters economic would never raise a question about just whose political and financial interests may be impaired, and lead to reduced advertising revenue, should a slightly different, as in factual, reporting track be established.