Saadi Gaddafi purchased a $15 million mansion in Hampstead, North West London just before the Arab Spring started last year. It was an impressive home, with eight bedrooms, movie theater, indoor pool, sauna, hot tub, and much more. The home was paid for with monies stolen from Libya’s oil funds, according to Justice Popplewell in the British High Court.
The High Court ruled yesterday that Saadi must hand the property over to thenew Libyan government within two weeks because it was unlawfully and wrongfully purchased. While campaigners against corruption in Libya were glad to hear the court’s ruling, they said that it only emphasizes how easy it is for tyrants in a country to steal from the state coffers and launder the money in Britain.
One of the anti-corruption campaigners, Robert Palmer, said that it is quite remarkable at how easy it is for those who steal from their country to use that money in Britain without anyone asking questions. There were banks, lawyers, and a real estate agent that were all involved in Saadi’s purchase of the mansion. No one asked any questions as to where the money came from or if it was simply a way for Saadi to launder the stolen assets.
The mansion was bought by a company called Capitana Seas Ltd, which was one of Saadi’s companies that he registered in the British Virgin Islands. Gregory Mitchell represented the Libyan government and said that it was no secret in Libya that the Gaddafi family frequently used the revenue from the country’s oil production as their own personal spending account. Mitchell also said that Saadi couldn’t raise the money needed to purchase the mansion by himself, so it only stood to reason that it was bought with Libya’s state funds. There was no representation for Capitana or for Saadi in court yesterday.Capitana has also been ordered to pay $180,000 to cover the costs of the hearing.