WASHINGTON – Muammar Qaddafi squirreled away more than $200 billion in bank accounts, real estate and corporate investments before he was killed Thursday, double the previous estimates made by Western governments, the Los Angeles Times reported Friday, citing senior Libyan officials.
"No one truly appreciated the scope of it," said one person who has studied detailed records of the Qaddafi asset search.
Western governments had previously estimated the deposed Libyan dictator's wealth at around $100 billion -- including $37 billion in now-frozen investments in the US, roughly $30 billion seized in France, Italy, England and Germany and a further $30 billion believed to be invested around the world.
Subsequent investigations carried out by American, European and Libyan authorities, however, have found that Qaddafi sent tens of billions more abroad during his 42 years in power and made investments in a large number of countries, including much of the Middle East and Southeast Asia, the Times reported.
While most of the money was invested under the name of government institutions -- including the Central Bank of Libya, the Libyan Investment Authority, the Libyan Foreign Bank, the Libyan National Oil Corp. and the Libya Africa Investment Portfolio -- Qaddafi and his family members had direct access to the money, investigators told the newspaper.
Qaddafi was killed Thursday after being captured on the outskirts of his hometown of Sirte by revolutionary forces. While some of his relatives have already fled across the border into Algeria, the fate of several others remains unclear.