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Rival Chairmen of Libya’s State Fund Meet to Discuss Who Will Control $67 Billion

(Author: Libyan Gazette Editorial Staff)

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Rival Chairmen of Libya’s State Fund Meet to Discuss Who Will Control $67 BillionThe rival chairmen of the Libyan Investment Authority (LIA) are looking to follow in the steps of Libya’s National Oil Corporation (NOC) by putting aside their differences and unifying their leadership.

Meanwhile, the LIA is currently pursuing two lawsuits against the American investment bank Goldman Sachs and the French Société Générale for billions of dollars for deals gone bad. Both lawsuits are taking place in London’s High Court.

In an interview, the chairmen AbdulMajid Breish, who is based in Tripoli, and Fawzi Omran Farkash, who is based in Tobruk, said they are prepared to unify their leadership to reduce legal costs and streamline operations.

The two rivals said they met in Dubai a week ago and came to an agreement to establish a unified board.

AbdulMajid Breish, a Tripoli-based chairman of the fund, and Fawzi Omran Farkash, a rival chairman representing a legislature that established itself in the eastern city of Tobruk, said they met in Dubai a week ago and agreed to create a unified board.

“We are in agreement,” said Mr. Farkash. “We have to manage to create one board of directors.”

The leadership of the LIA will have the authority to manage and invest billions of dollars from the state’s fund that are currently frozen by the UN.

A judge at London’s High Court put a hold on a case that was meant to determine who should be the rightful leader of the LIA. The judge said it should be up to the UN-backed Libyan unity Government (GNA) to decide on who will lead the LIA.

The GNA’s interest in asserting its authority over the LIA led to a meeting between the two rivals. Last month Prime Minister Fayaz Al-Sarraj appointed an interim caretaker-committee to oversee the LIA’s operations. Both rival chairmen do not approve of Al-Sarraj’s committee, saying it does not adhere to Libyan law.

Breish and Farkash both agree that the LIA should be overseen by a board of trustees, that would include the prime minister. Breish made a request to a court in Tripoli to rule on Prime Minister Fayaz’s appointed committee.

“My problem is with its current legal status,” Mr. Breish said. “The only body which can nominate and dismiss the chairman and the board is the board of trustees. If there is a new board of trustees and they ask me to hand over to a legally appointed replacement I will do so immediately. As a public servant I have a legal obligation to hand over to a legally-appointed body.”

Farkash agreed with Breish saying he is prepared to resign if his replacement was legally appointed by the LIA’s board of trustees.

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