A court battle is going on for the late Col. Muammar Gaddafi’s private jet. Since 2012, after the collapse of the regime, the luxurious Airbus A340-200 has been stationed at the airport of Perpignan, in southern France. Watch a visit of the aircraft via YouTube. The aircraft was sent Perpignan for repairs by Air France which cost €3m which has not been paid for yet. This aircraft has a checkered past in legal terms.
A Libyan government agency has appealed to the French courts to halt the auction of the aircraft. The Al-Kharafi Group is one of the largest conglomerates in the Middle East is trying to get the aircraft auctioned. In 2006, the company signed a deal with the Gaddafi regime for the construction of a seaside resort overlooking the Mediterranean with a 90 year concession.
Four years later, however, in 2010, the regime unilaterally revoked the concession. The Al-Kharafi Group then appealed on the basis of a clause in the contract, through the Arab League, to a court of arbitration in Cairo, which awarded them €935m, net of interest.
Armed with this judgment, the Group ‘hijacked’ the plane in June 2015. But the government agency, Libyan Executive Authority for Special Flights (EASF), demanded immediate cancellation of the auction. Al-Kharafi Group is willing auction the Airbus at a starting price of €60m.
The French verdict is expected by November 23. The operation is already turning into an international incident. The government agency claims Libyan ownership. The A340-200 is well fitted out as a luxury VVIP aircraft.