The US State Department said that the Maltese authorities confiscated Libyan banknotes printed by a Russian company for the Tobruk government in the Libyan East, valued at about $ 1.1 billion, which they described as "counterfeit," which was denied by Moscow today.
The Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement that "Russia sent a shipment of Libyan currencies to Tobruk in accordance with the 2015 agreement with the Libyan Central Bank," explaining that "the funds are necessary for the entire Libyan economy."
The US State Department said in a statement yesterday, "The United States welcomes the announcement by the Government of the Republic of Malta last May 26 to seize $ 1.1 billion of counterfeit Libyan currency printed by the Guznak Company - a Russian state-owned company - at the request of a parallel illegal entity."
"The Central Bank of Libya, headquartered in Tripoli, is the only legitimate central bank in Libya. The influx of counterfeit Libyan currency that Russia has printed in recent years has exacerbated the economic difficulties facing Libya," the statement added.
But the Russian Foreign Ministry responded to this in a statement saying, "We would like to note that under conditions in which there are two de facto authorities in Libya, there are currently two central banks, one in Tripoli where the internationally recognized national unity government, and the other in Benghazi. His ruler was appointed by a decision From the Libyan parliament, who were elected by the people, and thus enjoy the necessary international legitimacy. "
"The Libyan money is not fake, but American statements," the Russian foreign ministry added.
The Russian company Guznak said that the confiscation took place in September 2019 "in violation of international standards."
It stated in a statement received by Russian news agencies that a UN committee studying the health of the money package "did not find any violation of the sanctions imposed on Libya."
According to a United Nations expert report sent to the UN Security Council last December, the Russian company Guznak delivered between 2016 and 2018 the parallel central bank in Al-Bayda, eastern Libya, with Libyan cash equivalent to $ 7.11 billion.
It is noteworthy that Libya has lived since the fall of Muammar Gaddafi's regime in 2011 in a state of chaos in which two authorities compete: the internationally recognized national reconciliation government headed by Fayez al-Sarraj in Tripoli, and the Tobruk government headed by Abdullah al-Thani in the east, which is militarily controlled by retired Major General Khalifa Haftar.