What happens to Gaddafi's billions?


A bullet-ridden mosaic of Gaddafi is seen on the wall of a building in August 2011 in Tripoli, Libya. Gaddafi amassed billions. What will happen to them now that he's gone?


Daniel Berehulak

Colonel Muammar Gaddafi was a very rich man prior to his death in his hometown, Sirte, today. As the longest-lasting leader in the Arab world, and as the dictator of a small, oil rich nation, his family wealth is estimated to run into the tens of billions of dollars.

So where will his money go?

The British Treasury told GlobalPost that officials are monitoring the situation closely.

The Gaddafi family assets in Britain were frozen in February under the terms of a UN Security Council resolution, when Gaddafi began to violently suppress the uprising.

Authorities have frozen some $19 billion in assets owned by the Libyan Investment Authority, a sovereign wealth fund that the Telegraph has labeled "the main vehicle for Gaddafi's wealth."

What happens to these assets depends on the political process in Libya. It also depends on where the assets are deemed to have originated. It is likely the government will press for their return saying the wealth was looted from the Libyan people, but it is possible that Gaddafi left a will and their may be claims of Gaddafi's surviving family on some of it under the terms of the will.

A reasonable guess about the next step is that it will be made in consultation with other countries who froze assets back in February under the UN resolution.