Federal Reserve Lent To Gaddafi-Owned Bank, European Firms After Fighting Disclosure For 3 Years

Federal Reserve Lent To Gaddafi-Owned Bank, European Firms After Fighting Disclosure For 3 Years

At a time when credit markets shunned even the most worthy borrowers, foreign banks, including one partly-owned by Muammar Gaddafi’s Libya, fled to the Federal Reserve and borrowed at rock-bottom interest rates, Fed documents released Thursday show.

During the height of the financial crisis in the fall of 2008, as investors and firms hoarded cash, the Fed reduced its rates to kickstart lending in the broader economy. Arab Banking Corp., a $28 billion lender now 59 percent-owned by Libya’s central bank, borrowed at least $3.2 billion during this time. The Fed charged it an interest rate ranging from 2.25 percent to as low as 1.25 percent on those borrowings, regular Fed data show.

AAA-rated corporations paid bondholders an average rate ranging from 5.63 percent to 6.37 percent during the same period, according to the Fed.

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