British website: Haftar sells his properties in America in anticipation of a court decision to compensate his victims

London – “Al-Quds Al-Arabi”: The British “Middle East Eye” website has revealed that the family of Libyan warlord Khalifa Haftar has begun liquidating his properties in the United States after an American judge ruled that Haftar is responsible for war crimes.

In the report prepared by Sean Matthews, he said that the Haftar family began to liquidate its properties in the United States and sold a multi-million dollar house in Virginia, along with a large house and real estate in the millions, at a time when his legal problems have become worse. On March 21, Oqba Haftar, the son of the Libyan warlord, sold a seven-bedroom, 7,300-square-foot home in Great Falls, Virginia, for $2.55 million, according to public records seen by Middle East Eye.

The sale came less than two weeks after a US judge agreed to accept a lawsuit filed by Libyan families accusing Haftar of war crimes, and after a pause in the judicial process that lasted several months . Since then, Haftar’s legal situation has worsened. On July 29, a federal judge ruled in Haftar’s absence, accusing him of responsibility for war crimes. The court is now assessing the compensation package for the claimants. Victims and lawyers target Haftar’s properties in America.

“We will now move into the compensation phase, and we will target property wherever we find it around the world,” said Mark Zeid, a lawyer representing the group of plaintiffs.

Haftar owns a range of properties around the world, including at least a mansion in an upscale area of ​​the Jordanian capital, Amman, and real estate in the UAE, according to a person related to his family. but his property in the United States was the focus of the prosecutors. Haftar was prosecuted under the 1991 Law for the Protection of Victims of Torture, which allows relatives of victims of extrajudicial killings and torture committed by individuals in their capacity as members of an official government to prosecute those responsible.

In previous cases, it was difficult for victims to get compensation. Foreign leaders accused of human rights abuses and corruption have hidden their assets behind thin shell companies to hide their wealth. It is also difficult for US companies to confiscate foreign funds. However, Haftar’s American citizenship and the properties he owns in the United States make his case exceptional.

According to documents filed with the court, the Haftar family owns at least 17 properties in the Virginia area alone. The property was revealed by The Wall Street Journal, which was based on asset-tracing documents compiled by a private consulting firm and provided by the Libyan government. The website reveals that nine properties in Virginia have been sold, including the home in Great Falls, according to public real estate records. Six suburban properties, including two homes in Bristow, Virginia, sold between 2019 and 2020 for $680,000 and $715,000 each. A four-bedroom home in Ashburn, Virginia, sold for $702,000. Another four-bedroom, 3,600-square-foot home in Ashburn, Virginia, sold for $620,000 last November.

According to court records, Haftar personally owns two three-bedroom apartments in the Falls Church, Virginia suburb. The other property is owned by a limited liability company managed by his son Oqba. Khalifa Haftar’s affairs remain a family affair, as two of his sons, Saddam and Khaled, work as officers in the so-called Libyan National Army. Saddam was sent on special missions to the UAE and Israel on his father’s behalf, according to a source familiar with the matter.

Another son, Belkacem, works as a political advisor to his father. Oqba was not named in any of the cases against his father, although two of his sons who live in Libya were named as defendants in one of the lawsuits filed against their father. The 17 Virginia properties were initially managed by three companies: Eastfield Holdings, Alkisamton Investments and Eastern Brothers Group. For the past two years, the three companies have been grouped into a limited liability company, Apco Investment, run by Oqba Haftar, according to public records seen by the website. The value of the remaining eight properties is about $4,014 million, half the $8 million estimate first provided in court documents that referenced the 17 properties.

Haftar is considered one of the former CIA assets, as he was transferred from Chad to the United States and remained there until the overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011. In 2014, he launched an operation against the government in Tripoli , and in 2019 he had a failed operation to overthrow the legitimately elected government in the capital, but he was forced to withdraw after the Turkish intervention.

Lawsuits were filed between 2019-2020 accused of bombing civilians as well as torturing and executing prisoners. Haftar was supported by several countries, including Egypt, the UAE, France and Russia, where countries saw him as a bulwark against Islamists and was able to unify Libya after years of turmoil. An April 2019 call from former President Donald Trump led to rumors that Washington had changed its support for the Tripoli government, but relations between the Trump administration and Haftar worsened after the call.

Haftar’s forces have arrested an American citizen who works as a pilot for the internationally recognized government in Libya. Haftar has prevented pilot Jimmy Spongel, a former US Air Force pilot, from communicating with the US State Department while in custody, and has blocked his release, according to sources with knowledge of the matter. Spongel was released after six weeks, as Saudi Arabia intervened on behalf of the United States, the source said.

The 78-year-old warlord has few friends in Washington. The war in Ukraine has led to further questions about its relationship with Russia. Haftar’s forces were supported by Wagner mercenaries, along with Chadian and Sudanese militants. According to a source familiar with the affairs of the Haftar family, Oqba received an offer to move to the UAE after refusing support for his father in the United States. The Emirati embassy in Washington did not respond to the website’s questions. Oqba was contacted by phone and email for comment on the report, and the site did not receive a response by the date set for publication.

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