| ALGIERS, March 29
ALGIERS, March 29 Muammar Gaddafi's family
described as illegal on Thursday the seizure of 1.1 billion
euros ($1.46 billion) worth of assets that Italian police said
belonged to members of the ousted Libyan leader's family.
The assets, including stakes in blue chip Italian companies,
a Harley-Davidson motorcycle and a chunk of forest on a
Mediterranean island, were held by Libya's sovereign wealth fund
on behalf of the Gaddafi family, Italy's tax police said.
A lawyer who represents Gaddafi's daughter Aisha and son
Saadi, both of whom have been in exile since a rebellion last
year ended their father's rule, said the assets were part of
legitimate investments by the sovereign wealth fund.
"The Italian seizure of assets comprise a belated and
illegal compliance with a dubious court order and a persecutory
sanctions regime," the lawyer, Nick Kaufman, said in a statement
on behalf of the Gaddafi family.
"Not one dollar was used for the personal benefit of the
Gaddafi family and not one cent comprises the proceeds of
"The regime of the late Muammar Gaddafi proudly supported
Italian industry through its various state investment funds -
doing so for the ultimate benefit of the Libyan people," the
Italy, Libya's former colonial ruler, was once Gaddafi's
closest European Union ally. His administration, using a huge
pot of money accumulated from sales of oil, was a major investor
in Italian firms.
But since the rebellion, international institutions and the
new Libyan leadership have been trying to recover assets they
say the Gaddafi family stole from the Libyan state.
Officials in Tripoli said these assets could amount to
billions of dollars and that a large proportion have been
secreted abroad, in many cases using elaborate financial
mechanisms to mask their origin.