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Kucinich Demands Accountability if Frozen Assets Disappear


Frozen Assets are for the Libyan People, Must not be ‘Lost’ Like Money ‘Lost’ in Iraq and Afghanistan

Washington D.C. (May 9, 2011) – Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH), who has consistently challenged the Administration’s and North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s (NATO) military intervention in Libya, wrote to Treasury Secretary Geithner to request that he “assiduously ensure the safekeeping and close tracking of the seized assets with proper oversight so as to guarantee that they are used for the purpose of rebuilding Libya,” following news reports that the United States was planning to provide some of the money seized from the Libyan government to rebels in the country.

“Given the U.S. government’s history of difficulty in closely tracking reconstruction funds in Iraq and Afghanistan, I am gravely concerned that if illegally appropriated or managed poorly, the frozen Libyan assets could be untraceable or lost entirely,” Kucinich wrote. “The recent comments of other Administration officials now place a serious legal burden upon your office.”

The full text follows:

May 6, 2011

The Honorable Timothy Geithner
Secretary of the Treasury
Department of the Treasury
1500 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, D.C. 20220

Dear Secretary Geithner:

I write to express my deep concern regarding the United States government’s management of the assets of the Libyan government under U.S. jurisdiction.

As you know, on February 28, 2011, the United States announced that the Department of Treasury had frozen over $30 billion of assets under U.S. jurisdiction belonging to the Libyan government, pursuant to Executive Order 13566. President Obama stated in his March 28, 2011 address that the United States “will safeguard the more than $33 billion that was frozen from the Gaddafi regime so that it’s available to rebuild Libya. After all, the money doesn’t belong to Gaddafi or to us -- it belongs to the Libyan people.”

Yet during an international meeting of the Libyan Contact Group in Rome this week, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced that the United States would make available some of the frozen assets for the benefit of Libyan rebels. Assets of the Gaddafi regime which have been seized by the U.S. government are the rightful property of the Libyan people and every effort should be made to maintain their integrity so that they can be repatriated upon the resolution of the conflict there.

Given the U.S. government’s history of difficulty in closely tracking reconstruction funds in Iraq and Afghanistan, I am gravely concerned that if illegally appropriated or managed poorly, the frozen Libyan assets could be untraceable or lost entirely. The recent comments of other Administration officials now place a serious legal burden upon your office.

Consistent with your fiduciary responsibilities as Secretary of the Treasury, I urge you to assiduously ensure the safekeeping and close tracking of the seized assets with proper oversight so as to guarantee that they are used for the purpose of rebuilding Libya. Please be assured that this correspondence does not conclude my interest in this matter.

Sincerely,

Dennis J. Kucinich
Member of Congress

Cc: Adam J. Szubin
Director of Office of Foreign Assets Control
Department of the Treasury

Cc: Eric Thorson
Inspector General
Department of the Treasury

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