Inside the High-Stakes Race to Recover Qaddafi’s Ill-Gotten Billions
On an April morning in Vienna in 2012, a body was spotted floating in the Danube.
It did not take long for Austrian authorities to identify the deceased: a 69-year-old Libyan named Shukri Ghanem. Though not a household name, Ghanem was an erudite, enigmatic, and powerful figure who, after earning a doctorate at Tufts, rose to become prime minister, and later oil minister, of a country teeming with black gold and corruption. He was preceded in death by his political patron, Muammar Qaddafi, Libya’s longtime leader, who six months earlier had been killed by opposition forces in Sirte, his seaside birthplace.
While the gruesome spectacle surrounding Qaddafi’s death had been preserved for posterity on viral video, little fuss was made over Ghanem’s. An inquest by the Viennese state prosecutor’s office ruled out foul play. Officials quietly concluded that he had suffered a heart attack before falling into the water and drowning….