Qaddafi: How much is he worth?

Muammar Qaddafi AP/Graphics Bank

In Switzerland, the government ordered a freeze today on any assets Qaddafi may have there. In the U.S., the Treasury asked banks to watch for any suspicious transactions involving Libyan accounts.

Qaddafi has ruled his oil-rich country for more than 40 years - but how much is he worth? Chief investigative correspondent Armen Keteyian reports government officials are still trying to figure out exactly how rich the Libyan leader and his family are. But one intelligence source told CBS News their wealth is estimated to be "in excess of $20 billion."

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"With all those revenues flowing through the national government, through the treasury, it's pretty easy to tap those revenues for various purposes," Raymond Baker director of the Global Financial Integrity said.

Confidential diplomatic cables unearthed by WikiLeaks underscore that estimate. In a January 2010 State Department cable written by current ambassador Gene Cretz, he states Qaddafi's regime controls $32 billion in liquid assets around the world. And "that several American banks are each managing $300-500 million" in regime funds.

"I remember interviewing the director of the Central Bank at one point who admitted that quite frankly, he had no idea some years what money went where, and under what circumstances," said Dirk Vandewalle, author of "A History of Modern Libya")

The cables portray Qaddafi as understated with his wealth in Libya - while his eight children spend lavishly overseas: exotic hunting trips, New Year's Eve parties in St. Bart's featuring superstar entertainment by Beyonce and Usher; a luxury home in London's richest neighborhood.

Streams of government oil and gas money reportedly flow to all family members. Which, in turn, are said to finance investments in Libya. Everything from telecommunications to shipping and even a plastic surgery clinic.

If the U.S. wanted to go after Qaddafi's assets, President Obama could designate Libya a "rogue regime," giving banks the power to freeze whatever funds they find.

  • Armen Keteyian

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