Government admits taking £17m taxing Gaddafi's frozen assets that could go to victims of terrorism
PUBLISHED: 17:00 24 June 2019 | UPDATED: 17:12 24 June 2019
The government has taken £17million so far from tax on the frozen assets of Libya's Colonel Gaddafi while Docklands victims have received nothing since his sponsored IRA terrorism when Canary Wharf was bombed 23 years ago.
The shock findings come in a report today by Parliament's Northern Ireland Affairs committee which is pressing for the tax and other revenues to help victims.
"This tax should be used to assist the victims," committee chairman Simon Hoare said. "There is now a clear moral imperative for this money to help those who have suffered far too long.
"The profits the government has accrued could be put to better use rather than continue as profiting from frozen Libyan assets while victims get nothing.
"The methods of grappling with this issue for the last 15 years have meant there's been nothing for victims."
The assets have been yielding £5m a year from taxes, property rents, commodity dividends and bank charges since the fall of the Gaddafi regime in 2011.
The assets can't be touched under UN sanctions—but the government failed to mention that tax and other revenues earned by the assets held in London could be used.
The amount only came to light in today's report, which followed the committee of MPs having questioned ministers in December to find out why UK victims like those from the 1996 Canary Wharf atrocity, when two men died and 100 other people were injured, weren't getting pay-outs when others abroad were.
Bomb survivor Jonathan Ganesh, a bank security guard rescued from the rubble at Canary Wharf who later set up the Docklands Victims Association, told the East London Advertiser: "We are disgusted with the lack of concern. Victims of Gaddafi-sponsored terrorism from the US, France and Germany received compensation from Libya years ago as their governments fought for their citizens, but we were treated liked rubbish and got nothing."
Some victims have since taken their own lives in desperation over the years, while others have had to sell up their homes to pay for care, he pointed out.
His Docklands organisation and the Northern Ireland committee of MPs are now pressing the Treasury to release the taxable revenue generated by Gaddafi's assets, until compensation can be secured from the Libyan authorities.
The information the government has now revealed about the revenue shows that money is available to create a compensation fund.