An investigation is under way by Libyan and US authorities into suspected gold-for-cash trades between Venezuela and Libyan eastern commander Khalifa Haftar. Libyan and European security officials told the WSJ that Haftar’s associates had airlifted dollars to Caracas due to fears that “his accounts could be frozen if he comes under sanctions”.
According to Middle East Eye, security officials from the United States, Europe and Libya told the Wall Street Journal that the Libyan government had been tracking Haftar’s private jet, with the help of the United Nations and Washington.
Haftar’s jet was suspected of carrying gold from Venezuela to West Africa, which then went to Europe and the Middle East, according to the officials.
“Venezuela is under US sanctions so we have to open an investigation,” said Bashagha.
The official noted that Haftar preferred to keep his assets in gold as it is more difficult to track. The US State Department said publicly that it had been looking into flight tracking that suggests Haftar’s jets had gone to Caracas.
“We’ve been tracking those reports on Haftar’s trip – alleged trip – to Venezuela,” David Schenker, the US State Department’s assistant secretary for the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs, said in early June.
Officials told the WSJ that the Venezualan gold had been shipped to vaults in Switzerland and the United Arab Emirates.
One instance showed Haftar’s jet had travelled on 24 April to Caracas before flying to Switzerland three days later, later landing in the UAE in early May, according to flight tracking from C4ADS, a nonprofit group that gives data-driven analysis on transnational security issues.
reported on Middle East Eye