TRIPOLI - Before his death, Libyan dictator Muammar al-Gaddafi moved a giant fortune out of the country. It is gold, diamonds and cash worth billions of dollars – financed with revenues from the sale of oil. Although the international community has committed to returning assets stolen from autocrats, the whereabouts of much of it is unclear. And the hunt for Gaddafi's treasure is taking place in secret.

This cross-border independent research describes how two treasure hunters from Germany are working together to track down and remove huge assets out of Southern Africa. They apparently also wanted to use gunmen in the process. The two men have connections to right-wing extremist circles and are supposedly working on behalf of the Gaddafi family. The recovered assets are purportedly to be used by them to support pro-Gaddafi candidates in future elections. Gaddafi's eldest son Saif al-Islam is running for Libyan president.

One of the treasure hunters is a former SWAT police officer who illegally trained security forces in Libya when he was an active official.The other is a businessman from Bavaria who moves in radical libertarian circles and founded a security company with a Swedish neo-Nazi.

For security reasons, a journalist that participated in this investigation did not want to be mentioned in the project. 

Photo credit: released by the South African Government on 31 May 2011, shows South African President Zuma (L) meeting for a discussion with Libyan leader, Colonel Muammar Gaddafi (R) during his one day visit to Libya, Tripoli, on 30 May 2011. EPA/Ntswe Mokoena HANDOUT EDITORIAL USE ONLY/NO SALES

Team members

Sebastian Erb

Sebastian Erb is an investigative reporter for the German newspaper taz in Berlin. 

Qaanitah Hunter

Qaanitah Hunter is an award-winning journalist and political editor at News24 based in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Daniel Schulz

Daniel Schulz is an investigative journalist based in Germany.

€6.290 allocated on 15/01/2020


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