Libya Lost $1B Investing With Goldman

2008 investment slammed by financial crisis
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted May 31, 2011 10:32 AM CDT
Libya Lost $1B Investing With Goldman Sachs During Financial Crisis
A picture taken on February 11, 2010 shows Saif al Islam, a son of Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi, sitting next to Mustafa Zarti, who was an executive at the sovereign wealth fund.   (Getty Images)

(Newser) – Libya handed $1.3 billion in Goldman Sachs in 2008 for a range of investments—but as the financial crisis took hold, the money lost 98% of its value, a Wall Street Journal investigation finds. Goldman made a deal with Moammar Gadhafi’s sovereign-wealth fund as it sought “to join the major leagues” in investment banking, says a former Treasury official. Libya’s $1.3 billion went to options on currencies and stocks in Citigroup, Italy’s UniCredit, Banco Santander, and more.

But those options were hammered by the financial crisis, and by February 2010 were valued at just $25.1 million. A top Libyan fund official was “like a raging bull” at a meeting with Goldman as he threatened its workers; the fund’s chiefs felt they’d been swindled. Goldman’s employees needed a security escort before they left the country. Goldman attempted several deals to help get the money back, including making Libya a major shareholder in the firm, but none were ultimately agreed upon. Click through for more on Libya and Goldman Sachs. (Read more Libya stories.)

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