Attorney General: Libyan Ambassador to Italy Arrested

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On Sunday, the Libyan Public Prosecution ordered the pretrial detention of the Libyan Ambassador to Italy, Omar Al-Tarhouni on charges of “infringing on medical supplies allocated for Libyans coming to Italy to receive treatment there.”

In a statement, the Attorney General’s office stated that the Public Prosecution addressed the complaints filed by families of children sent for treatment in Italian hospitals, against members of the Libya mission in Rome. The Public Prosecutor discussed the circumstances regarding the “sale of medical supplies for personal benefit,” by Embassy staff.

The statement indicated that the Ambassador is being charged with “abuse of power, deliberately harming public money, and involvement in improper financial gain.”

Notably, the Libyan Audit Bureau recently suspended Al-Tarhouni for “committing irregularities and financial abuses that harmed public money.”

According to Libyan media outlets, documents have revealed that he had “deceived the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for the purpose of obtaining a sum of money.”

The documents issued by Examination and Review Committee claimed that Al-Tarhouni wanted to cover the costs of his father-in-law’s treatment in Rome. However, his father-in-law was deceased, and he had deliberately tried to obtain over 81 thousand euros, according to an initial invoice transferred from Italy’s Al-Zorbi Hospital.

The documents also showed a letter sent from Al-Tarhouni to the Director of the Department of Treatment Abroad Affairs in March, claiming that his father-in-law suffers from a chronic disease, and attached a copy of his medical report.

After reviewing the request, it became clear to the Department of Curative Affairs at the Libyan Ministry of Health that “Al-Hashimi Belhaj”, the father-in-law, had passed away more than a year ago.

In a letter dated 16 March, the Director of the Department of Curative Affairs at the Ministry of Health, Ahmed Melitan demanded the medical attaché at the Libyan Embassy in Rome halt all payment procedures.

Melitan also requested the medical attaché “explain the reasons for taking measures to pay for the treatment of a person who died in 2020.”