'Huge cash allowing Gaddafi to extend fight against rebels'

'Huge cash allowing Gaddafi to extend fight against rebels'

The Libyan despot has control over the huge cash deposits, which have been stored at the Libyan Central Bank and other banks around Tripoli, 'The New York Times' reported quoting US officials.

Since the uprising in Libya began in mid-February, some of the money may have been moved into Gaddafi's Tripoli compound, Bab Al Azizia, the paper said adding that Gaddafi "likely has tens of billions in cash that he can access inside Libya".

The huge cash reserve is vast enough for Gaddafi, who has been in power for 41 years to comfortably pay his troops, African mercenaries and his political supporters.

According to the paper, the Gaddafi regime had hired between 3,000 to 4,000 mercenaries from sub-Saharan Africa and was paying them USD 1,000 a day each. US officials however could not confirm the numbers of mercenaries or the amount they were paid.

When the west began lifting economic sanctions on Libya in 2004, following Gaddafi's decision to cooperate with US in its fight against Al Qaeda, a sovereign wealth fund, which today ranks among the world's largest and reported to be worth USD 60 billion was created by the Libyan leader.

The US has frozen at least USD 30 billion of Libya's assets, while the UN and the EU have also imposed sanctions and frozen assets.