Recovery of a small portion of Libya's looted gold in Egypt created new hopes for the interim National Transitional Council, which has decided to intensify search for country's missing gold.
TRIPOLI (BullionStreet): Recovery of a small portion of Libya's looted gold in Egypt created new hopes for the interim National Transitional Council, which has decided to intensify search for country's missing gold.
Although no official confirmation has been made about the discovery of more than 7,000 priceless coins and other precious artefacts from an unknown destination in Egypt, it is widely believed that it was a part of the famous Treasure of Benghazi.
National Transitional Council says it believes these coins were stolen from a bank in Benghazi during the Libyan uprising.
It included more than 10,000 pieces, with coins dating back to Greek, Roman, Byzantine and early Islamic times, but also other treasures such as small statues and jewellery. Most had been discovered during the Italian occupation of Libya and were taken out of the country.
They were then returned to Libya in 1961 after the country's independence. The collection has been kept in the vault of the Commercial Bank of Benghazi ever since, waiting for the opening of a museum that was never built.
The coins were never photographed or documented and seemed to have been forgotten, analysts said. Several hundred coins may have been recovered in Egypt, but that was still to be confirmed, they added
Meanwhile, Libya central bank confirmed that Gaddafi regime had sold 29 tonnes, around 20% of the country's gold reserves in his final days in power.
Central bank said it believes the gold was sold to local merchants sometime between April and May, as Gaddafi's regime felt the pinch of international sanctions that had frozen billions in assets.
The gold was liquidated to pay salaries and to have liquidity, in Tripoli in particular, it added.
However the bank didn't clarified reports that said some of the gold may have made its way out of the country to neighbouring Tunisia and beyond, flouting international sanctions.