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Economic crimes in Libya have become a source of concern for all honorable Libyans who aspire to build their desired state. Economic crime was and remains the foremost enemy of economic development in this afflicted country. And as a first step to learn how to combat this bad phenomenon, this study identified methods of illegal gain before and after the February 17, 2011 revolution in Libya, with reference to the role of the political system in the growth of this phenomenon. In Libya, for the non-political and non-leadership figures, in the absence of the institutions of the modern state, with a noticeable weakness in regulatory regimes and security bodies, once the illegal money is acquired (illegally acquired funds) without the presence of criminal evidence can be used to convict or accuse someone, whereupon, the money will be clean and washed, no need for the process of washing. This situation is continued until after the revolution of February 17, 2011. Dictatorial Political system in Libya was one of the difficulties that prevented the process of money laundering fighting and the illegal gain. Dictatorial Political system in Libya was turning a blind eye to criminal activities associated with the illegal gain and money laundering which was executed by Members of the Revolutionary Committees and the Revolutionary Guards in return for (in exchange for) providing the protection to this system in order to stay in power as long as possible. The spread of poverty among the sons of Libyan people contributed to the growing of the illegal gain phenomenon and money laundering. The lack of effective oversight bodies and security agencies has also contributed to the growth of all negative phenomena within Libyan society. When the Libyan revolution occurred in 2011 and in the shadow of overwhelming chaos – it is still going on, many criminals and prisoners “who emerged from prisons during that period” made huge fortunes in illegal ways. These people will become businessmen in the future. What is expected of this group of people will be disastrous. The expected thing about this group of criminals is that they will not be lambs, they will be predatory wolves. Based on this expectation, the level of economic crimes and corruption in the Libyan state will increase in the future. There are some difficulties that will face the new Libyan government to fight of money laundering phenomenon and the illegal gain. The new Libyan government will face many challenges when it begins to combat economic crime phenomenon, that challenges are the spread of weapons and the vast geographical boundaries. Proliferation of arms in the hands of the people is the most important challenge that will hinder the process of combating money laundering and illegal earning activities. The lack of possibilities to guard the geographical boundaries of Libya to prevent illegal immigration and smuggling of goods, fuel and drugs. It is also another challenge. As a radical solution to this negative phenomenon, this study suggested the optimal methods to combat the phenomenon of illegal earning and money laundering in Libya.

Keywords: illegal earning; money laundering (corruption); dictatorship; government policy and regulation; revolution; economic development; economic decline; public policy

For citation: Battal Saleh, Y. A. (2020). Economic crimes in Libya: the phenomenon of illegal earning and money laundering before and after the February 17, 2011 revolution. Economic consultant, 31 (3), 53-80. doi: 10.46224/ecoc.2020.3.4


Information about the author: 

Younis A. Battal Saleh (Libya, Benghazi) – Lecturer and researcher. Training Department in HRM of General Electricity Company “GECOL”. E- Mail: younisbattal1968@yahoo.com. ORCID ID: 0000-0002-4209-3132