Landlord’s Gaddafi link stalls BLG’s office switch

An investment company linked to fallen Libyan dictator Colonel Gaddafi could dash Barlow Lyde & Gilbert’s (BLG) hopes of moving into merger partner Clyde & Co’s London offices soon after the deal goes through.

Colonel Gaddafi
Colonel Gaddafi

BLG is exploring options that would release it from its lease at Beaufort House before its next break clause comes up in three years.

Broker Jardine Lloyd Thompson is said to be interested in taking over BLG’s lease, but negotiations have stalled because of ­difficulties in reaching the building’s owner, Libyan Arab Foreign Investment Company (Lafico).

According to BLG CEO David Jabbari, the merger with Clydes was built around the premise that BLG would stay in its offices at least until its lease runs out, but management is keen to sublet the office to free up the cash necessary to take on extra space in Clydes’ St Botolph building sooner.

“If there’s a property deal we could do, that would be great,” added Jabbari.

Lafico was established by the Gaddafi regime in the 1980s with a view to making foreign investments.

Gaddafi was effectively deposed earlier this year and the Libyan Investment Authority (LIA), which is now operating under the authority of the National Transitional Council, is set to subsume Lafico’s ­portfolio of assets.

However, sources at the LIA said Lafico’s managers have proved difficult to reach, which has delayed the process.
Lafico bought Beaufort House in St Botolph Street, EC3 in 1993.

The company was one of the five entities against which the EU imposed restrictions in March because it was a potential source of funding for the Gaddafi regime.