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Goldman Offered to Let Libya Become Major Shareholder After Losses Goldman Offered to Let Libya Become Major Shareholder After Losses

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Economy / FOREIGN AFFAIRS

Goldman Offered to Let Libya Become Major Shareholder After Losses

(Chris Hondros/Getty Images)

photo of Catherine Hollander
May 31, 2011

After losing almost all of a $1.3 billion Libyan investment, the Goldman Sachs Group offered to let the nation become one of its biggest shareholders in 2009, the Wall Street Journal reports. The negotiations during which the offer was allegedly made eventually fell apart with no resolution.

The offer came on the heels of a 98% loss in value of a $1.3 billion investment by Libya’s sovereign-wealth fund, controlled by Colonel Moammar Gaddafi, which Goldman sank into a currency bet and other trades, according to The Journal. The investment was badly hit by the credit crisis that fall, tumbling to just $25.1 million by February 2010. Goldman offered to let the country invest $3.7 billion in the firm and offered up three proposals in which Libya would get a stake in Goldman, The Journal reports, citing documents prepared by Goldman.

Libya’s investment in Goldman came four years after sanctions prohibiting American companies from doing business with or investing in Libya were lifted. Talks between Goldman and the Libyan Investment Authority broke down, according to the Wall Street Journal, and Libya’s losses were never recouped. This year, the U.S. froze about $37 billion in Libyan assets.

 

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