Libya: Customs officers arrested over massive gold shipment

Libya: Customs officers arrested over massive gold shipment

Libyan authorities have arrested several customs officials in the city of Misrata, for having attempted to smuggle abroad around 26 tonnes of gold, worth almost $2 billion, AFP reports citing local prosecutors.

Authorities made the arrests in connection with a smuggling operation at the Misrata’s international airport.

In a statement posted online, the Libyan prosecutor’s office said: "The investigating authorities ordered the arrest of the director general of customs and customs officials at the international airport of Misrata.”

The arrested officials had attempted to smuggle out of the country gold bars weighting 25,875 kilograms, worth almost 1.8 billion euros. Authorities did not indicate the origin the gold in question. 

Under Libyan law, only the Central Bank can export gold. 

Libya has endured years of turmoil since a 2011 uprising which overthrew the dictator Moammar Gadhafi. The country is currently divided between UN recognized government based in Tripoli under Abdelhamid Dbeibah and a competing government in the east of the country led by military strongman Khalifa Haftar.

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