Libya Got Al-Senussi the Old-Fashioned Way: It Bought Him
Mark Kersten has the scoop at Justice in Conflict:
So why, then, did Mauritania do it or, perhaps more accurately, how did Libya convince Mauritania to change its tune?
Having reached out to various contacts to see whether anyone knew what had changed Mauritania’s mind, a number of individuals quickly responded that there was only one possible motivation: money. While certainly not far-fetched, I thought there must be something else to the story – economic cooperation, perhaps some oil concessions, or the development of stronger geopolitical ties. Turns out I was wrong and it had everything to do with money.
According to numerous sources, including Der Spiegel and the Libyan Herald, Libya paid 200 million US dollars in order to guarantee Senussi’s transfer. While some Libyan officials have denied that there was any direct transfer of cash, rumours persist that the money was transfered to Mauritania via an off-shore account.
Importantly, the buying the custody of a former Gaddafi regime official would be in line with recent practice. The extradition of former Libyan Prime Minister, Baghdadi Al-Mahmoudi, in June was guaranteed by a payment of “a sum of $100m and another $100m as an interest-free loan” to Tunisia. Interestingly, Libya’s Finance Minister, Hassan Zaglam, was on the plane that brought Senussi back to Libya. This fact has only fueled speculation that Libya paid Mauritania off. After all, it is certainly uncommon for Finance Ministers to be involved in extradition negotiations.
Great work by Mark. What a bizarre and wasteful move by the Libyan government — as Mark notes, $200m is more than the ICC’s entire yearly operating budget.