VIENNA May 3 Vienna's top homicide
investigation team is probing the mysterious drowning of Libya's
former oil chief but that does not mean they think he was
murdered, prosecutors said on Thursday.
The body of Shokri Ghanem, a confidant of Libyan strongman
Muammar Gaddafi who fled to Austria after defecting last year,
was found floating in the river Danube on Sunday.
Police have said they have no reason to suspect foul play
but the circumstances surrounding his death remain under
The case is being run as a murder investigation, Vienna
prosecutors spokesman Thomas Vecsey said, but only because the
legal code lacks other designations police could use.
"We still have no suspicion at all of foul play. We still
have no suspicion of murder," he added.
The so-called Hoffmann group at Vienna's office of criminal
investigations - named after its leader - is in charge of the
case, Vecsey said.
Ghanem, who was wanted in Libya for questioning in a graft
inquiry, was a former Libyan prime minister who also ran the
Libyan oil industry before defecting a year ago during the
uprising that toppled Gaddafi.
That made him privy to potentially damaging information on
oil deals with Western governments and oil firms.
He would have had enemies among Gaddafi's opponents because
of his years at the centre of power, as well as among the late
leader's friends and kin because of his decision to defect.
A passerby discovered Ghanem's fully clothed body in the
Danube, a few hundred metres (yards) from his home in a
22-storey apartment block.
Friends and colleagues have said they suspect enemies may
have killed Ghanem, 69, who knew more than anyone about
Gaddafi's suspected multi-billion-dollar fortune. Associates
have also said he was worried about health problems.
(Editing by Myra MacDonald)