When the world gets closer.

We help you see farther.

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter.

Already a subscriber? Log in .

You've reached your limit of one free article.

Get unlimited access to Worldcrunch

You can cancel anytime .


Exclusive International news coverage

Ad-free experience NEW

Weekly digital Magazine NEW

9 daily & weekly Newsletters

Access to Worldcrunch archives

Free trial

30-days free access, then $2.90
per month.

Annual Access BEST VALUE

$19.90 per year, save $14.90 compared to monthly billing.save $14.90.

Subscribe to Worldcrunch

Big Chunks Of Gaddafi's Stash Of Oil Wealth Went Into Italy -- And Bad Investments

An overview of the Libyan sovereign wealth fund's bad moves, including investments in some of Italy's top firms such as energy giant ENI and industrialist Finmeccanica

Libya invested heavily in Italy's Unicredit bank (Hugo)
Libya invested heavily in Italy's Unicredit bank (Hugo)
Francesco Manacorda

MILAN - The real mystery of Libya's oil treasure seems to be how much of it has been squandered by disastrous investments. The anti-corruption organization Global Witness has published on its website a detailed report, originally dated June 30 2010, about the troubled investments of Libya's sovereign wealth fund, the Libyan Investment Authority (LIA).

Currently, a UN resolution has frozen the assets of LIA, which owns a 2.6% share of the Italian bank Unicredit, a 2% share of the Italian oil and gas company ENI and a 1% share of the Italian industrial and hi-tech group Finmeccanica.

But from the report, it seems that LIA's investments should have been halted long before. While most sovereign fund managers tend to be highly professional investors, the LIA seemed to have another approach. One-third of its capital, $19 billion, was kept in deposits, while risky investments and huge mistakes were made with the rest.

During the quarter between April and June 2010, LIA's total asset dropped by 4.53%, from $55.8 billion to $53.3 billion. Not too bad, considering that the equity and currency derivatives portfolio's value plunged by 98%, from $1.24 billion to $20 million.

An investment of $1.8 billion set up by the French bank Société Generale left only $284 million. Stock options and assets were even more disastrous. An equity derivative investment in ENI lost 99% of its value. One with Unicredit lost 99.5%. A contract signed with Citgroup, which cost $100 million, left only $500,000.

Libya's good relations with Italy were clear from the sovereign fund wealth's portfolio. Almost 24% of LIA's investments were with Italian companies. Germany was the second partner, the US was the third and the UK the fourth leading partner.

Some of the biggest global fund managers worked with Gaddafi. LIA had structured product investments with HSBC, Commerzbank and Paribas, as well as private equity funds Carlyle, RBS and Goldman Sachs. Ironically, the Libyans were happy to help fuel Washington with financing. Two-thirds of LIA's $3.4 billion of bonds investment were invested in US government bonds.

photo - Hugo

You've reached your limit of free articles.

To read the full story, start your free trial today.

Get unlimited access. Cancel anytime.

Exclusive coverage from the world's top sources, in English for the first time.

Insights from the widest range of perspectives, languages and countries.


Influencer Union? The Next Labor Rights Battle May Be For Social Media Creators

With the end of the Hollywood writers and actors strikes, the creator economy is the next frontier for organized labor.

​photograph of a smartphone on a selfie stick

Smartphone on a selfie stick

Steve Gale/Unsplash
David Craig and Stuart Cunningham

Hollywood writers and actors recently proved that they could go toe-to-toe with powerful media conglomerates. After going on strike in the summer of 2023, they secured better pay, more transparency from streaming services and safeguards from having their work exploited or replaced by artificial intelligence.

But the future of entertainment extends well beyond Hollywood. Social media creators – otherwise known as influencers, YouTubers, TikTokers, vloggers and live streamers – entertain and inform a vast portion of the planet.

✉️ You can receive our Bon Vivant selection of fresh reads on international culture, food & travel directly in your inbox. Subscribe here.

For the past decade, we’ve mapped the contours and dimensions of the global social media entertainment industry. Unlike their Hollywood counterparts, these creators struggle to be seen as entertainers worthy of basic labor protections.

Keep reading...Show less

The latest