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Viewing cable 08TRIPOLI642,

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
08TRIPOLI642 2008-08-12 15:03 2011-02-01 21:09 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Tripoli
Appears in these articles:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/wikileaks-files/libya-wikileaks/
TRIPOLI 00000642 R CO 12-AUG-08 HANNIBAL GOES TO SEA: INSIGHTS INTO ANOTHER AL-QADHAFI FAMILY BUSINESS [7909670]From: CBPC, EACTAPP [EACTAPP@state.sgov.gov]
Sent: Tuesday, August 12, 2008 5:30 PM
To: EACTTripoli
Subject: TRIPOLI 00000642 R CO 12-AUG-08 HANNIBAL GOES TO SEA: INSIGHTS INTO ANOTHER AL-QADHAFI FAMILY BUSINESS [7909670]

CONFIDENTIAL

VZCZCXRO8786
RR RUEHTRO
DE RUEHTRO #0642/01 2251532
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
R 121532Z AUG 08
FM AMEMBASSY TRIPOLI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 3772
INFO RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHINGTON DC
RUEHRB/AMEMBASSY RABAT 0689
RUEHTU/AMEMBASSY TUNIS 0584
RUEHAS/AMEMBASSY ALGIERS 0745
RUEHEG/AMEMBASSY CAIRO 1186
RUEHVT/AMEMBASSY VALLETTA 0337
RUEHNC/AMEMBASSY NICOSIA 0003
RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME 0466
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS 0570
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON 0887
RUEHTRO/AMEMBASSY TRIPOLI 4286
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 TRIPOLI 000642 
 
DEPT FOR NEA/MAG; COMMERCE FOR NATE MASON 
ENERGY FOR GINA ERICKSON 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL:  8/12/2018 
TAGS: ECON EPET EWWT PGOV KCOR CY LY
HANNIBAL GOES TO SEA: INSIGHTS INTO ANOTHER AL-QADHAFI FAMILY BUSINESS  REF: A) TRIPOLI 592, B) TRIPOLI 596, C) BERN 368,  D) HOTRWASHIN  06243883 , E) 2006 TRIPOLI 198  CLASSIFIED BY: Chris Stevens, CDA, U.S. Embassy - Tripoli, Dept of State. REASON: 1.4 (b), (d) 1. (C) Summary:  Libya's maritime business, in which Hannibal al-Qadhafi (son of Muammar al-Qadhafi) plays a large role, appears to be another key sector of Libya's economy that effectively falls under the al-Qadhafi family's sway.  Projected increases in Libya's oil and gas production in the next 5-8 years are expected to generate concomitant growth in the maritime component of hydrocarbon transportation and production.  Libya's private and state-run companies, which have a majority of that business, are expected to grow and retain their control of that lucrative sector.  The use of government funding to capitalize Hannibal's "private" maritime transportation company, together with the fact that the national maritime transportation in which he plays a large role quickly halted Libyan oil shipments to Switzerland in response to Hannibal's recent detention in Geneva, highlight the close integration of private and public interests in many of Libya's key economic entities. Despite the ostensibly egalitarian nature of al-Qadhafi's "Jamahiriya", the reality is that the al-Qadhafi family and its close political allies own outright or have a considerable stake in most things worth owning, buying or selling in Libya.  End summary.  2. (C)  Econoff recently met with Talal Arebi, Chairman and General Manager of the Mariner for Maritime Transportation, Ltd. company to discuss Libya's oil and gas shipping industry, and to glean information about the ownership structure of Mariner and the General National Maritime Transportation Company (GNMTC). Mariner is reported to be owned and controlled by Hannibal al-Qadhafi, son of Libyan leader Muammar al-Qadhafi.  The GNMTC is nominally state-owned, although Hannibal reportedly has a sizeable stake in and effectively controls it.  The GNMTC was publicly linked to Hannibal during the Libya-Switzerland contretemps over his recent arrest and detention in Bern (refs A, B); the state-run company announced shortly thereafter that it was halting all oil shipments to Switzerland (Ref C).  MARINER ON THE GROW ...  3. (C)  Mariner was established in 2000 in Cyprus, and merged shortly thereafter with unnamed Libyan company in a joint venture structure.  It initially served as a broker between Libya's National Oil Corporation (NOC) and European firms for offshore oilfield transportation and shipping.  The company subsequently expanded its services to include direct chartering of vessels.  By 2003, it had purchased its first oil product storage vessel, adding a second the following year.  With these two ships in hand, Mariner began to service offshore oil rigs operated by TOTAL (France) and Eni (Italy) in Libyan waters. The company now has three major areas of operation: offshore oil/gas platform support, shipping management and clean (i.e., refined) oil product transportation from Libya to foreign ports.  ... AND SO FAR A NEAR-MONOPOLY PLAYER  4. (C)  According to Arebi, Mariner now provides up to 75% of the NOC's requirements for transporting clean products to market, primarily in Europe.  It is seeking to further expand its offshore support business by adding another 10-15 supply vessels to match the boom in offshore drilling that is expected to occur in the next several years.  Arebi flatly stated that Mariner has no Libyan competition; however, it does compete with Italian and French companies for the offshore support business, and primarily Greek and Greek-Cypriot firms in the oil transportation sector.  Addressing the role of Maltese companies, Arebi said Malta's primary competitive advantage was its shipyard and some re-supply capabilities, but noted that Maltese firms were limited because they typically did not own their own vessels.  5. (C)  Asked about the company's financing, Arebi stressed that Mariner is "an entirely private company" that draws on foreign banks to underwrite major loans.  Regarding political support by the Libyan government and/or regime figures (i.e., Hannibal al-Qadhafi), Arebi was coy, allowing only that the company has "enjoyed high-level support".  He conceded that such support had been critical in getting the company launched, particularly with respect to gaining access to decisionmakers at the NOC and its subsidiaries, particularly Brega.  He maintained that Mariner did not/not receive any government funding; however, a contact at the National Engineering and Supply Services Company (NESSCO)  TRIPOLI 00000642  002 OF 002   told us recently that Mariner had received financial support from the NOC as recently as late 2006.  Separately, a prominent member of Libya's small community of elite businessmen told P/E Chief that the initial request for funds to capitalize Mariner had coincided with a decision by Muammar al-Qadhafi to steer Hannibal, who has had a checkered past, towards business pursuits in the hope that it would temper his behavior.  (Note: The use of government funds to capitalize entities owned/controlled by al-Qadhafi's children has become common practice.  Credible reports suggest that Muhammad, Saif al-Islam and Saadi al-Qadhafi have all benefited from considerable government financing and political backing in their business endeavors.  End note.)  ANOTHER ANGLE: THE GNMTC AND LIBYAN NAVY  6.  (C)  In addition to Mariner, Hannibal al-Qadhafi is also reported to have a controlling interest in Libya's GNMTC. Hannibal's precise role in the company is unclear.  He is decribed as a "consultant" in some sources; others describe him as playing a key management role in the company, particularly with respect to procurement decisions.  According to its website, the GNMTC has a fleet of five crude oil, three "clean product" and two liquid petroleum gas (LPG) tankers in its fleet.  GNMTC's operating capital was recently expanded to 600 million Libyan dinars (about $480 million), in addition to a new government-backed loan for $350 million to purchase an additional nine tankers.  Opposition websites document alleged instances in which Hannibal has used his influence over the GNMTC to establish himself up as a broker for the purchase of vessels, thereby reaping millions of dollars worth of personal profit.  Separate reporting (ref D) also address his Mariner equities and a controlling interest in Libyan naval contracts.  7.  (C) Comment: Hannibal's stake in Mariner and prominent role in the GNMTC afford another example of the kleptocratic nature of al-Qadhafi's regime.  While the Jamahiriya political ideology espoused by Muammar al-Qadhafi owes an intellectual debt to socialism and includes hefty doses of pseude-egalitarian rhetoric, the reality is that the al-Qadhafi family and its political loyalists own outright or have a considerable stake in most things worth owning, buying or selling in Libya (ref E). The extent and nature of the family's economic activities are deliberately obscured to help deflect public scrutiny and allegations of corruption; however, Hannibal's stake in Libya's maritime sector - like those of his siblings in other industries - is an open secret in Libya's small, closed society.  The quick decision by the GNMTC to halt oil shipments to Switzerland in response to Hannibal's detention in Geneva throws into stark relief the seamless private-public nature of many of Libya's key economic entities, a reality that will complicate nascent efforts to encourage economic reform and greater transparency. End comment. STEVENS