The Libyan Investment Authority (LIA) has denied that it has completed a deal to sell its telecoms unit LAP Green Network to a British-led consortium including Digicel chairman Denis O’Brien, whilst confirming that it has enlisted an international lawyer to lift United Nations (UN)-imposed sanctions that have severely impacted on its business this year. Wafik Shater, chairman of the board of directors, who was appointed following the downfall of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, told Reuters Africa: ‘There was never a signed agreement with any of them to sell LAP Green or any of its individual operations’. Last week, TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate reported that Centamon, a company controlled by British consultancy firm Levant Group and Demco, a Greek investment company, had acquired a 65% stake in LAP Green for USD270 million, and asked O’Brien’s Jamaica-based telco Digicel to run the business on its behalf. However, Shater did confirm that LAP Green’s previous management team had been involved in talks with potential buyers, although they were replaced following the overthrow of Gaddafi, and no such deal was ever completed.
Shater went on to explain that, whilst sanctions on the LIA’s African investments were eased in September, they have not been fully removed, and the telecoms holding company is currently believed to be operating at a loss. He said: ‘We hired an international lawyer to help us lift the sanctions. The sanctions are extremely damaging to our business and preventing us from expanding our business. We would like the UN Security Council to address the issue’.