Libya Wealth Fund Seeks to Reclaim Full Power in London Court

(Bloomberg) -- Libya’s investment authority said it has applied to a London court to end three receiverships in the U.K., as the North African nation’s sovereign wealth fund looks to reclaim full powers challenged by a bruising power struggle over its chairmanship.

The receiverships were set up in 2015 to help manage several lawsuits filed by the Libyan Investment Authority in the U.K. at a time when its leadership was being contested by two men with dueling loyalties to rival governments. The fight reflected the broader feud in Libya between Islamists and a United Nations-backed government that had threatened to plunge the OPEC member into civil war.

The LIA said in a statement that it filed the application on Tuesday because it was increasingly “concerned about the unnecessary ongoing costs of the receiverships.” The move comes after several high-profile lawsuits filed by or involving the LIA, including against Societe Generale SA and Goldman Sachs Group Inc.

In June, SocGen agreed to pay about 500 million euros ($584 million) to settle French and U.S. bribery probes related to payments to LIA officials. The fund had also unsuccessfully sued Goldman Sachs in 2016, claiming it was misled into signing derivatives deals it never properly understood.

The application to discharge the receiverships, filed in Commercial Court, said the Government of National Accord had been set up as Libya’s internationally recognized executive power and that the LIA’s board had been appointed by that government.

“The application to discharge the receiverships and bring the assets back under the control of the legitimate LIA Board of Directors is in line with the UN’s efforts to safeguard and support Libya’s legitimate sovereign institutions,” the wealth fund said in a statement. “The LIA’s Board is also increasingly concerned about the unnecessary ongoing costs of the receiverships.”

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