Libya: US Treasury Slaps Sanctions on Oil Smugglers

The US Treasury has imposed new sanctions, including asset freeze, on several entities and individuals from Libya, Egypt and Malta believed involved in the smuggling of Libyan oil.

The new sanctions from the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) have targeted six people, twenty-four companies and seven vessels.

Assets belonging to targeted individuals and entities under the US jurisdiction will be frozen while Americans are warned not to engage with them.

The targeted people, companies and vessels have been identified as being from three countries namely Libya, Egypt and Malta.

The OFAC accuses them of smuggling petroleum products from Libya to Europe.

Former Maltese football international, Darren Debono is among the sanction-hit individuals. Debono according to the US Treasury formed with others an “unofficial consortium” to smuggle Libyan oil into Malta and Italy.

The illegal deal generated about $37 million for unlawful group, the Treasury office notes.

According to press reports, Debono has been in custody since his arrest in Italy, in October.

“Oil smuggling undermines Libya’s sovereignty, fuels the black market and contributes to further instability in the region while robbing the population of resources that are rightly theirs,” OFAC’s statement said.

Libya has been unable to control its oil exploitation because of the chaos prevailing in the country since the 2011 NATO-backed revolution.

The National Oil Corporation (NOC) managing the natural resource has to rely on rogue militias for the protection of oil facilities, which are often targets of attacks.

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