A White House executive order issued late Friday in response to violence in Libya called on financial institutions to freeze the assets tied to the North African nation's government, but failed to specify one thing: how were compliance officers to know which accounts to block? That weekend, officials from more than a dozen U.S. and international banks scrambled to agree on a shared "master list" of Libyan commercial and private banking clients whose assets needed to be seized, according to individuals familiar with the matter. By Monday, the banks had frozen $30 billion tied to the government of Libyan leader...
President Obama on Tuesday authorized sanctions powers against groups and individuals deemed to have threatened or coerced state-run financial institutions in Libya or undermined the country's U.N.-backed leadership, the Government of National Authority.
After a busy year for federal sanctions officials, large banks with international footprints are increasingly instituting deeper, standalone audits of their related policies and procedures, say compliance officers and consultants.
U.S. financial institutions may be left to sort out the ultimate destination of billions of dollars in Libyan assets frozen in February in retaliation for the African government's brutal crackdown on protestors.
The U.S. Treasury Department Tuesday sanctioned three more Libyan banks, bringing to a dozen the number of financial institutions cut off from the U.S. financial system since Libya was first targeted for economic sanctions at the end of February.