Wednesday, 16 June 2010

Britain and Libya become best of friends in business

[This is the headline over a report in today's edition of The Independent. It reads as follows:]

Business ties between Britain and Libya have developed at great speed since the oil-rich North African nation came in from the diplomatic cold.

The thawing of relations has led to a surge in trade, with Libyan now considered a major business partner for a number of well-known British companies. Indeed, several families of the victims of the Lockerbie atrocity argued last year that the release of the bomber, Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi, was linked to improving business ties, rather than because Megrahi was dying of cancer. He is still alive.

According to UK Trade and Investment, the government body that promotes trade between Britain and other countries, British exports to Libya were worth £423m in 2009 – 51 per cent more than in 2008. The organisation says "many well-known companies are active in the Libyan market", including Marks & Spencer and Rentokil. The Libya British Business Council, which encourages trade between the two nations, lists Barclays, HSBC, BP and the law firm Denton Wilde Sapte among its council members.

BP, for example, and its Libyan partner, Libya Investment Corp, signed a $900m deal to develop onshore and offshore projects in May 2007.

Michael Lacey, the managing partner in Denton Wilde Sapte's Cairo office, said many industries were looking to expand in Libya. "They are all there: construction, airlines, hotels, banks and oil and gas. If British companies are not already in Libya, they are certainly dipping their toes in the water," he added. "Over the past few years it has become clear this is an economy that people want to be associated with."


  1. Excellent news for UK/Libya relations.

  2. Like all Banks the HSBC is not big on moral rectitude. In fact it is an ongoing criminal enterprise.

    In 1995 I phoned David Leppard as I felt that the Bedford/Kamboj story in his book was at fundamental odds with the official version of events and gave some insight into what actually transpired.

    We chatted, I mentioned I had worked in Hong Kong and he told me he was writing a story on the Hong Kong aspects of Tory Party funding and I offered to help. Parties associated with the HSBC were believed to have made substantial donations to fund the 1992 Election. After the election the HSBC took over the Midland Bank.("consultant" Francis Maude).

    Behind the takeover lay a colossal fraud by which the HSBC had bankrolled it's client Alan Bond in the $1.2 (Aus) billion Bell Resources fraud by which the HSBC had reduced it's massive unsecured exposure to Bond, a necessary prerequisite of the takeover of the Midland.

    When the story appeared in the Sunday Times I found Leppard had used some of my material on other Hong Kong crooks but the guts of the story, "Bell Resources" was expunged. Apparently the Sunday Times Business Editor Jeff Randall (now of Sky) claimed to be a good buddy of the HSBC Deputy Chairman and "named" insider trader LI Ka-shing so they censored their own story!

    I learned a little bit about trusting journalists and thought pursuing the true story of Lockerbie through the ST was going to be a waste of time. Still I did get Andrew Neil sacked!