Rome, March 15 (IANS/AKI) The Bank of Italy has announced that it has put Libyan-controlled Banca UBAE under special administration after the European Union decided last week to freeze the oil-rich country’s assets.
The Italian central bank’s move was decided Saturday following the EU’s decision to extend the freeze on Libyan assets to properties controlled by Libya’s central bank and the Libyan Foreign Bank- the UBAE’s primary shareholders.
UBAE is a Libyan-controlled bank that oversees payments for Libyan oil and gas in Europe that also holds deposits on behalf of institutions belonging to the country’s government.
Italy, Libya’s largest trading partner, receives around 12 percent of its natural gas and 25 percent of its oil from the North African country.
The US, EU and the UN have implemented sanctions against Muammar Gaddafi’s government after it opened fire on demonstrators who demanded the end 41 years of dictatorship. Clashes have since escalated with the better-armed forces loyal to Gaddafi regaining control of the oil port of Brega, the fourth rebel-held town to fall.