Gaddafi's former banker Bashir Saleh seen in South Africa


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

Bashir Saleh used to work for slain Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, earning the nickname "Gaddafi's banker" for his help the brutal dictator manage his money.

Saleh survived the revolution that lead to the downfall and death of Gaddafi. Because of his close ties to the late leader, Saleh is currently on the Interpol's most wanted list. However, that hasn't stopped him from taking what appears to be a pretty nice vacation.

South Africa's Sunday Times newspaper reported that Saleh is traveling freely in South Africa. His stops included a celebration hosted by none other than the ruling African National Congress (ANC), suggesting that he's not particularly afraid of running into any politicians. 

The paper also reported that Libyan investigators found evidence of more than $1 billion worth of cash and other goods that once belonged to Gaddafi, now being housed in South African banks and security companies. 

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South Africa's shadow police minister, Dianne Kohler Barnard, reacted with anger and embarrassment to the report.

"What is he doing strolling in and out of our country when he's on the most-wanted list?," she told the Guardian. "If we had any crime intelligence at all, they would know who this was and arrest him on the spot."

Barnard suspects that Saleh must have a friend in a high-powered government position who is protecting him from that fate.

Since the Sunday Times report was published, South Africa's Treasury has promised to look into the allegations.

In a statement to Reuters, a Treasury spokesman added: "There was a group that approached Treasury claiming to represent the Libyan government and we are in the process of verifying their claims about assets that are in South Africa."