Libya bank chief surfaces in Istanbul: FT

9th March 2011, Comments 0 comments

The governor of Libya's central bank, the gatekeeper to the finances of Moamer Kadhafi's regime, has surfaced in Turkey after a intense search, the Financial Times reported Wednesday.

Farhat Omar Bengdara, who was hunted by officials, diplomats and bankers as rebels fought against Kadhafi's regime, revealed his location in an email sent to the British paper.

Bengdara told the business daily that he had been told Libya's secretary of planning and finance had taken over as acting governor and explained that he had been in Istanbul.

Foreign leaders have been desperate to find out the bank chief's loyalties as his access to central funds gives him genuine power at time when the international community is freezing the North-African nation's assets.

Bengdara claimed he was still undertaking his duties and was only abroad as it was easier to conduct business.

He said he would quit after the crisis, and claimed the international asset freeze could trigger a humanitarian disaster.

The 45-year-old grew up in the rebel stronghold of Benghazi, but despite his reformist banking agenda was considered to be too closely involved with the Kadhafi regime to defect.

© 2011 AFP

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