Awesome corruption. The Libyan dictator put every other thug in the Middle East to shame with his purloining of public monies.
Moammar Kadafi secretly salted away more than $200 billion in bank accounts, real estate and corporate investments around the world before he was killed, about $30,000 for every Libyan citizen and double the amount that Western governments previously had suspected, according to senior Libyan officials.
The new estimates of the deposed dictator's hidden cash, gold reserves and investments are "staggering," one person who has studied detailed records of the asset search said Friday. "No one truly appreciated the scope of it."
If the values prove accurate, Kadafi will go down in history as one of the most rapacious as well as one of the most bizarre world leaders, on a scale with the late Mobutu Sese Seko in Zaire or the late Ferdinand Marcos in the Philippines.
Kadafi's death after he was captured Thursday outside his birthplace, the coastal town of Surt, not only all but ended the armed uprising that erupted in February. Revelation of the stunning size of the portfolio may stir anger among Libya's 6.5 million people - about one-third of whom live in poverty.
Though Kadafi's foreign investments would seem to offer a bonanza for the transitional government, it is struggling to reclaim the money because of legal barriers created by a U.N. freeze on Libyan assets and national laws designed to ensure seized assets are only released to the legal owner.
The new Libyan government is going to need that money to rebuild its shattered cities and economy. How much of it they can eventually claim may depend on the goodwill of the international community - a fleeting thing if the Islamists begin to assert themselves and try to take over.