Gaddafi’s Biggest Bankers: HSBC, Goldman Sachs, Société Générale, JPMorgan Chase

May 26th, 2011

Muammar al Gaddafi

U.S. Navy

Task Force member Global Witness today revealed that HSBC, Goldman Sachs, Société Générale, JPMorgan Chase and many other western financial institutions appear to have held and managed billions in Libyan state oil money under the rule of Col. Muammar al Gaddafi.

A release to the media from Global Witness early this morning began:

LONDON and WASHINGTON, DC – HSBC and Goldman Sachs are among the key western bankers for Colonel Gaddafi’s regime, a 2010 document leaked to Global Witness appears to show. The document details the whereabouts of state oil revenues.  However the Libyan people could not know where it was invested or how much it was, because banks have no obligation to disclose state assets they hold. Global Witness is now calling for new laws requiring banks and investment funds to disclose all state funds that they manage.

Global Witness asked both banks to confirm that they held funds for the state-owned Libyan Investment Authority, and whether they still hold them. They both refused, with HSBC citing client confidentiality. Numerous other banks and financial firms are listed including Societe Generale, UniCredit and the Arab Banking Corporation.

“It is completely absurd that banks like HSBC and Goldman Sachs can hide behind customer confidentiality in a case like this. These are state accounts, so the customer is effectively the Libyan people and these banks are withholding vital information from them,” said Charmian Gooch, director of Global Witness.

Click here to read the full press release and to download a full copy of the leaked document.

Global Witness is both a founding and a coordinating committee member of the Task Force on Financial Integrity and Economic Development.  Learn more about Global Witness at

Written by Clark Gascoigne

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