August 12, 2016 / 3:26 PM / 3 years ago

One of two rival chairmen of Libya sovereign fund quits

LONDON, Aug 12 (Reuters) - One of two men claiming the chairmanship of Libya’s $67 billion sovereign wealth fund, Hassan Bouhadi, has tendered his resignation, his spokesman said on Friday.

Libya’s political infighting made it too difficult to conduct business, Bouhadi said in his resignation letter, seen by Reuters.

In October 2014, Bouhadi was appointed head of the fund, the Libyan Investment Authority (LIA), by authorities in eastern Libya. They had moved to the east to set up a parliament and government after rival factions took control of institutions in the capital, Tripoli.

The appointment put him at odds with AbdulMagid Breish, who was appointed chairman in June 2013 before the split but stepped aside a year later, then claimed to have been reinstated following a decision by the Libyan Court of Appeal.

Breish was not immediately available for comment on Friday.

The dispute has mirrored the split nature of the government following the fall of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.

Libya’s new U.N.-backed unity government, the Government of National Accord (GNA), is struggling to impose its authority on the country since it took charge in March.

GNA Prime Minister Fayez Seraj has faced opposition to unifying split institutions such as the central bank and the LIA from hardline factions in the House of Representatives based in the east.

The LIA is also involved in two law suits against investment banks Goldman Sachs and Societe Generale, seeking to claw back over $3 billion lost in trades carried out under the Gaddafi regime.

Over a third of the fund’s assets remain frozen under sanctions imposed by the U.N. Security Council in 2011 to prevent money being spirited out of the country.

Libya’s two national oil companies reached an agreement in early July to unite, however. (Reporting by Claire Milhench and Ahmad Ghaddar; Editing by Sonya Hepinstall)

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