UPDATE 1-U.S. sanctions 9 firms owned by Libyan government
(Adds detail on sanctions)
WASHINGTON, June 21 (Reuters) - The United States on Tuesday tightened financial sanctions on the Libyan government and blacklisted nine companies for being owned or controlled by Muammar Gaddafi's government.
The sanctions will prohibit U.S. transactions with the nine companies, including the Arab Turkish Bank, Tunisia-based North Africa International Bank and Lebanon-based North Africa Commercial Bank, the U.S. Treasury said.
At the same time, the Treasury removed sanctions against former oil minister Shukri Mohammed Ghanem because he defected from Gaddafi's government in May. Earlier this year, the United States lifted sanctions against former Libyan foreign minister Moussa Koussa in an attempt to persuade other officials in Gaddafi's government to defect.
"To the extent that sanctioned individuals distance themselves from the Gaddafi regime, these measures can be lifted," Adam Szubin, the director of Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control, said in a statement.
Other targeted companies include subsidiaries of the Libyan Investment Authority, which was established in 2006 to manage the country's oil revenue.
(Reporting by Rachelle Younglai; Editing by Jackie Frank)
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