Maltese arms dealer accused of Libyan sanctions busting

James Fenech had agreement with UAE company to transport personnel in, out of Libya, says prosecution

Baris Seckin   | 26.04.2020
Maltese arms dealer accused of Libyan sanctions busting


A Maltese arms dealer was charged with violating EU's Libyan sanctions, local media reported Saturday.

James Fenech, 41, allegedly used two military-grade bots to transport private contractors out of war-torn Libya without notifying authorities, according to the Times of Malta newspaper.

Fenech and four other men were charged in a court in Valletta with sanction busting Friday and according to the prosecution, he had an agreement with a UAE company to transport personnel in and out of Libya.

"A mysterious Malta-registered boat found in the harbour or Zwetina, Libya, some 150 kilometres [93 miles] south of Benghazi, last August had raised suspicion that it was being used to sneak people in and out of the country, prompting Libyan authorities to launch an investigation," said the newspaper.

The investigation is also searching possible money laundering, police authorities said Saturday, and a request to freeze assets linked to Fenech was accepted by the courts.

The UN-recongnized Government of National Accord (GNA) has been under attack by renegade Gen. Khalifa Haftar's forces since last April, with more than 1,000 killed in the violence.

It launched Operation Peace Storm on March 26 to counter attacks against the capital.

The GNA announced April 13 its forces removed Haftar militias from at least eight provinces, clearing a 3,000-square-kilometer (1,158-square-mile) area from the warlord's forces.

Since the ouster of longtime ruler Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, two seats of power have emerged in Libya: Haftar in eastern Libya -- supported by Egypt and the UAE -- and the GNA in Tripoli.

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