Gaddafi sells oil on black market-defecting minister

Wed Jun 8, 2011 4:12pm GMT

* Ex-labour minister says Gaddafi power rests on money

* Says Gaddafi should remain in country, face trial

By Robert Evans

GENEVA, June 8 (Reuters) - Libya's defecting labour minister was reported on Wednesday as saying the Libyan government is selling oil on the black market as Muammar Gaddafi struggles to hold onto power.

Swiss media said Ali al-Amin Manfur told delegates at an International Labour Organization (ILO) conference on Tuesday that he was joining the Libyan rebels.

He told the Geneva daily Le Temps, in an interview published on Wednesday, that Gaddafi's remaining support came from people who had a financial interest in his survival.

"The regime controls the businesses, and the oil which it is selling on the black market, and it has access to the state treasury," said Manfur, who was the only delegate from Tripoli at the United Nations agency's two-week gathering.

He told Le Temps that Gaddafi had the backing of a maximum of 20 percent of the population, including the leader's own tribe. "But they are all armed, and most important of all they have the money," Manfur said.

He gave no details on oil sales in the interview, which appeared as Gaddafi's forces -- despite NATO bombing authorised by the United Nations to protect civilians -- began a new offensive against the rebel city of Misrata.   Continued...

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