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Efforts to freeze Gaddafi assets resisted

LOS ANGELES, Apr 24 – The international drive to freeze the Libyan regime\’s foreign assets is running into stiff resistance in many parts of the world, The Los Angeles Times reported on Sunday.

As a result, Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi is able to dig into a vast hoard of cash that has moved abroad, the daily said.

Gaddafi and his immediate family already top a list of 18 individuals banned from leaving Libya and 13 people and five entities whose international assets have been frozen by two UN Security Council resolutions passed in February and March.

The European Union and United States have already hit Gaddafi targets with their own sanctions.

But The Times said that although Washington and Brussels have blocked access to more than $60 billion (40 billion euros) in Libya\’s overseas bank accounts and investments, other nations have done little or nothing to freeze tens of billions more that Gaddafi and his family spread around the globe over the last decade.

Gaddafi has moved billions of dollars back to Tripoli since the rebellion began in mid-February, the report said, citing unnamed officials.

The precise totals are unknown, in part because investigators believe the Libyan ruler has made significant investments in companies and financial institutions that shield his identity, the paper noted.

Several countries that have developed strong economic ties to Libya, including Turkey and Kenya, along with several other African nations, have balked at carrying out the freeze, The Times said.

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Meanwhile, India, China and Russia have resisted US and European efforts to expand the sanctions, the paper noted.

Other countries with no apparent political or economic ties to Tripoli have made no attempt to identify or block access to Libyan assets, according to The Times. In some cases, the governments may lack the technical capability to trace hidden assets.

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