Squatters set to be evicted from �10million Gaddafi Hampstead mansion
Squatters in a �10million Hampstead mansion owned by the son of deposed dictator Muammar Gaddafi are set to be turfed out as the new Libyan regime scrambles for cash tied-up in Britain.
The newly entrenched National Transitional Council (NTC) in Libya are casting around for assets in the UK after European leaders began to unfreeze the Gaddafi family’s money abroad.
Just two weeks ago Libyan nationals squatting in the Gaddafi London retreat burst out of the house and into Winnington Close to celebrate the downfall of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi.
Now they could find themselves jettisoned from the home once again as the NTC announced it will go after every last penny of Gaddafi’s.
Mohamed Shaban, a lawyer for the new Libyan ambassador in London, said: “Anything we can link to the Gaddafi regime or his children, we’re going to go after aggressively.”
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Mr Shaban has already started proceedings to seize the Winnington Close mansion - which is part of the estimated �12billion Libya state fortune in Britain.
Paul Reynolds of Squash, a campaign group fighting the criminalisation of squatting, said the occupants almost certainly face eviction.
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He said: “From a legal point of view the owner of the property has to prove they have a right to possession which is greater than the person occupying the property - which could be because the owner has granted them a lease.
“If, in the case of the Gaddafi squatters, they were squatting when ownership was transferred it’s harder for them to be evicted. But ultimately the owner will shift them.
“All it means is that the occupants have a few more lines of argument, but in the end they will have to go.”
But the squatters could yet be dealt a lifeline as the multi-million pound property looks set to be a tricky asset for the NTC to seize, because of the complex ownership structure.
The “beneficiary owner” of the house has been identified by the Treasury as Colonel Gaddafi’s third son Saadi Gaddafi, according to Mr Shaban.
But the house itself is owned by Capitana Seas Ltd, a company based in the British Virgin Isles.
The directors of the company must transfer the house to the NTC for it to be seized.
Mr Shaban told the Ham&High: “Whether this company actually exists and what instructions they have, who knows? But it’s progress.
“There needs to be a bit of negotiating and putting the jigsaw together because we don’t know if there are physical directors.
“If there aren’t, it’s going to be difficult to get any consent. Or they might be real, in which case they may well pass it on to us.”