Prince Laurent seeks PM's help to recuperate 50 million from Libya

Prince Laurent of Belgium, King Filip's younger brother, has asked PM Michel to help him recuperate 50 million euros from the Libyans. 

The prince, who enjoys a strained relationship with the Belgian government after failing to seek authorisation for several interventions, has written a letter to the PM requesting his help in securing compensation from the Libyans for his not for profit organisation, the Global Sustainable Development Trust.

A decade ago the Libyans broke a contract for reforestation project.  A Belgian court has ruled in the favour of the not-for-profit organisation, but the Libyans refuse to cough up.

Prince Laurent complains that the Belgian authorities never helped him to recuperate the monies. In 2008 the Libyans signed up to a Global Sustainable Development Trust project for reforestation, but a year later changed their mind.  A Belgian court then ruled that the Libyans should compensate the Global Sustainable Development Trust for the expenditure it had already made.  Including interest 50 million euros is now due.

From the Belgian foreign ministry the Global Sustainable Development Trust initially got the advice to act with restraint as so many Belgian businesses are pressing for the payment of unpaid bills. These bills have now all been settled but the Global Sustainable Development Trust hasn't seen any compensation.  The organisation's lawyers attempted to gain access to Libyan assets frozen in Belgium in 2011 but without success and without support of the Belgian government, the prince says.

In the letter the prince points out that given his status he's banned from embarking upon any normal career in business.  His activities are limited to not-for-profit organisations and he says his not-for-profit organisations are very important to him.  He adds he's raised the matter with the government before but is now fed up he's not getting any response.

Mr Michel has now indicated that the government cannot intervene on behalf of the Global Sustainable Development Trust and that UN resolutions ban the use of frozen Libyan assets to compensate in this case.

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