The funds are expected to be seized within days. The Treasury is understood to have set up a unit to trace Col Gaddafi's assets in Britain, which are thought to include billions of dollars in bank accounts, commercial property and a 10 million mansion in London.
The British government's deep fears that Libya would take "harsh and immediate" action against UK interests if the convicted Lockerbie bomber died in a Scottish prison are revealed in secret US embassy cables which show London's full support for the early release of Abdelbaset al-Megrahi. Muammar Gaddafi, the Libyan leader, made explicit and "thuggish" threats to halt all trade deals with Britain and harass embassy staff if Megrahi remained in jail, the cables show.
Muammar Gaddafi, the veteran Libyan leader, is a "mercurial and eccentric" figure who suffers from severe phobias, enjoys flamenco dancing and horse-racing, acts on his whims and irritates friends and enemies alike, according to US diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks. Gaddafi has often been ridiculed in the west, but he is regarded with fear and mistrust in parts of Africa, with leaders and officials expressing anger about his plans for a United States of Africa, the documents show. President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda even worried about a possible Libyan attack on his aircraft.
A potential "environmental disaster" was kept secret by the US last year when a large consignment of highly enriched uranium in Libya came close to cracking open and leaking radioactive material into the atmosphere. The incident came after the mercurial Libyan leader, Muammar Gaddafi, suddenly went back on a promise to dispose of the weapons-grade uranium, apparently out of pique at a diplomatic slight received in New York when he was barred from pitching a tent outside the UN.