Gaddafi’s UK assets are frozen

GEORGE Osborne last night froze the British assets of the Gaddafi family, as the international community tightens the screw on the flailing Libyan regime.

Following a special meeting of the Privy Council at 5.15pm yesterday, the chancellor acted to freeze the assets of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi and five members of his family, including the second eldest son and heir apparent Saif.

Although the true value of the family’s UK assets is not known, some estimates put their total British fortune at over £10bn.

Osborne said: “I have today taken action to freeze the assets in the UK of Colonel Gaddafi and his family or those acting on their behalf so that they cannot be used against the interests of the Libyan people.”

Meanwhile, the government signed an order prohibiting the export of uncirculated Libyan banknotes without a licence, after officials thwarted a brazen plot to shift £900m worth of Libyan cash outside of the UK.

The chancellor became aware of the attempt to move the banknotes last week, but was advised by officials that it would take several days to secure an Export Control Order.

According to one official, the chancellor then played a protracted game of “cat and mouse” with the Libyan regime, which saw officials adopt a range of stalling tactics to prevent the cash leaving UK shores.