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$680m of Libyan state cash held by UK banks

Leaked report reveals major global banks held billions in Libyan assets.

Billions of dollars of Libyan state funds were held by global banks including HSBC and Royal Bank of Scotland, a leaked report has revealed.

The internal document for the Libyan Investment Authority (LIA), obtained and released by UK campaign group Global Witness, showed that $4bn was held in investment funds with $1bn in Société Générale alone.

Dated 30 June 2010, the document named HSBC holdings of $293m in cash accounts and $275m in a hedge fund, $110m in an RBS private equity fund, and $44m cash in Goldman Sachs accounts.

Hundreds of millions of dollars were also held by JP Morgan Chase, Japanese bank Nomura and the Bank of New York. All the institutions have refused to confirm the leaked details.

Charmain Gooch, direct of Global Witness said it was "absurd" for HSBC and RBS to cite customer confidentiality in their refusal to comment. "These are state accounts, so the customer is effectively the Libyan people and these banks are withholding vital information from them," she said.

The report also revealed $19bn of LIA's assets were kept in Libyan and Middle Eastern Banks, as well as billions of dollars in General Electric, BP, Vivendi and Deutsche Telekom shares.

All of the funds, plus those of Muammar Gaddafi and his family, were frozen from February by the European Union and United Nations.

Alice Gribbin is a Teaching-Writing Fellow at the Iowa Writers' Workshop. She was formerly the editorial assistant at the New Statesman.