Gaddafis wealth spread across globe: US report

New York: Libyan despot Muammar Gaddafi has spread his wealth, estimated to run into hundreds of billions of dollars across at least 35 nations on four continents, as Western bankers attempt to unravel his financial tentacles.

His bizarre mix of investments range from luxury real estate and publishing companies in Britain to hotels in the Middle East and a prized stake in Italy`s famed Juventus football franchise, the CNN reported.

These, the channel said, were his well known investments, but the Libyan strongman in recent years has turned away from the West and is believed to have poured hundreds of billions of dollars in unstable African nations, with reports that Gaddafi even holds a major stake in a Zimbabwe`s giant commercial bank.

All these come on top of billions of dollars that Libya has stashed away in the United States` largest and most influential investment banks.

Libya and its maverick leader are sitting on huge stockpiles of cash dollars and according to Western estimates they are using this money to hire mercenaries from North Africa to keep the dictator in power.

The CNN said when UN lifted its economic sanctions on Libya in 2003, Gaddafi and his financial experts created a sovereign wealth fund, which today ranks among the world`s largest and reported to be worth USD 60 billion.

Compiling details of Gaddafi`s assets, the CNN said that the Libyan leader had about USD 32 billion in liquidity stored in US banks and in nearby Canada, his investments include taking over a oil-rig company Verenex Energy for USD 320 million.

The American channel said the Libyan dictator`s assets in Italy included stake in oil giant Eni, defence company Finmeccanica and UniCredit, Italy`s largest bank.

The Libyans also have 7.5 per cent stake in Juventus.

The American and European bankers and financial experts say that they have only touched the tip of the iceberg as they believe that his major investments are held through proxy names.