Russia faces new allegations of fueling counterfeit money in Libya

Russia faces new allegations of fueling counterfeit money in Libya

Russia is accused of flooding Libya with counterfeit banknotes in an attempt to destabilize the country, according to Africa Defense Forum (ADF), a magazine published by U.S. Africa Command. 

In April, the Central Bank of Libya (CBL) announced it would be withdrawing Libyan dinar 50 notes from circulation to tackle the country’s problem with counterfeit, according to the Libya Herald. The CBL did not indicate who was behind the fraudulent bills.  

ADF reports Russia has been printing the fake bills on a farm near Benghazi, a stronghold of Libyan National Army leader Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar. 

“It’s important to emphasize that Russia’s assistance to Haftar rarely comes without financial demands,” Jalel Harchaoui, an associate fellow at the Royal United Services Institute reportedly told The New Arab. “Haftar is always required to cover the expenses incurred by the Russians active on Libyan soil — in military and other domains.”

Haftar reportedly relies heavily on Russian mercenaries in its fight against the western-backed Libyan government based in Tripoli. 

This is not the first time Russia faces accusations of counterfeiting Libyan dinars. 

In 2020, Libyan currency worth $1.1 billion that was printed in Russia by state owned Goznak was seized in Malta. Russia denied U.S. claims at the time that the bills were fraudulent, according to Reuters.

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