Blackwater founder Erik Prince accused of Libya weapons ban violations in UN report


DUBAI — A United Nations report accuses Blackwater founder Erik Prince of aiding in violations of a world arms embargo on Libya, putting the navy contractor susceptible to U.N. sanctions, based on a diplomat with entry to the report.

The report by the U.N. Panel of Consultants that displays the ban on transfers of weapons to Libya says corporations managed by Mr. Prince offered three plane to help in sending helicopters and navy contractors to assist Russian-backed Libyan warlord Khalifa Haftar in 2019.

The plan to ship Western mercenaries to Libya developed as international weapons and fighters poured into the nation in 2019 and 2020 from quite a lot of exterior powers, together with RussiaTurkey and the United Arab Emirates, deepening a battle that has been ongoing since 2014, the report says, based on the diplomat.

Erik Prince. (Fox Information display screen picture)

Mr. Prince is prone to be referred to the U.N.’s Sanctions Committee, which might order a freeze on his belongings or a journey ban, based on the New York-based diplomat and a former official with information of the scenario. The everlasting members of the Safety Council, together with the U.S., Russia, or China, might veto any potential sanctions in opposition to Mr. Prince, who has had dealings with all three international locations.

“Erik Prince had completely nothing to do with any operation in Libya in 2019, or at some other time,” a spokesman for Mr. Prince mentioned in an e mail.

“Erik Prince had completely nothing to do with any operation in Libya in 2019, or at some other time.”

— Spokesman for Erik Prince

A U.N. spokesman mentioned the group had no particular touch upon the Panel of Consultants report.

“It’s incumbent on our member states to make sure that the sanctions are revered and enforced,” mentioned U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric De La Rivière.

The report itself has been finalized and submitted to the U.N.’s headquarters in New York. It’s unlikely to be altered earlier than it’s launched to the general public within the coming weeks, based on diplomats.

Mr. Prince, a former Navy SEAL, got here to prominence throughout the Iraq conflict, when Blackwater offered non-public safety guards to U.S. officers and contractors working for the corporate shot lifeless greater than a dozen Iraqi civilians in a 2007 mass killing in Baghdad. Blackwater has since modified its identify to Xe Companies and later Academi.

Mr. Prince’s monetary and political ambitions rose due to his shut relationship to the Trump administration. Mr. Prince is the brother of Mr. Trump’s former training secretary, Betsy DeVos. In December, Mr. Trump pardoned the 4 Blackwater guards accused within the 2007 killings.

Shell corporations

In response to the diplomat, the forthcoming U.N. report says corporations managed by Mr. Prince bought three plane to individuals who despatched Western mercenaries and navy {hardware} to assist Mr. Haftar within the opening months of the commander’s failed assault on Libya’s internationally acknowledged authorities in Tripoli. Launched in April 2019, Mr. Haftar’s assault on the capital plunged Libya into its worst preventing for the reason that armed riot that overthrew Col. Moammar Gadhafi in 2011.

In response to the diplomat, the U.N. panel’s report says that companies managed by Mr. Prince bought three plane by way of a collection of shell corporations to a Dubai-based firm, Lancaster 6, which despatched helicopters and a bunch of Western mercenaries to Libya to help Mr. Haftar. The plan unraveled, and the fighters left Libya.

One of many planes, a Pilatus PC-6, was delivered to Libya to be used in reconnaissance and intelligence operations for Mr. Haftar’s forces, based on the diplomat with entry to the report. A U.S. firm, TST Humanitarian Surveys, managed by Mr. Prince by way of a U.S.-based lawyer, bought the airplane to a different firm in Austria partly owned by Mr. Prince, which then bought it to Lancaster 6 in June 2019, the diplomat with entry to the report mentioned. The airplane arrived in Libya days later, based on the diplomat.

The opposite two planes, together with an Antonov An-26 cargo airplane meant to move helicopters, arrived in Jordan and didn’t fly to Libya, however have been recognized within the report as a part of a broader plan to ship navy support to Mr. Haftar.

The plan additionally concerned a number of associates of Mr. Prince, based on the diplomat and the previous official with information of the scenario. The operation was first reported final yr by Bloomberg and the New York Occasions. Till now, U.N. investigators hadn’t instantly accused Mr. Prince of being concerned within the scheme.

Helicopter deal

Utilizing funds from a Dubai-based firm and a canopy story involving a pretend plan for a geospatial survey in Jordan, the group later obtained in South Africa three Aérospatiale Gazelle helicopters and three Tremendous Puma helicopters. At the very least one of many helicopters was transported to Libya. The helicopters have been bought for a complete of greater than $13 million, a value effectively above their market worth and one which advised revenue was a key motive behind the operation.

“That is mainly a scheme the place they wished to make cash round procurement of weapons,” mentioned the previous official with information of the scenario.

“That is mainly a scheme the place they wished to make cash round procurement of weapons.”

— Supply chatting with the Wall Avenue Journal

The function within the effort of corporations primarily based in Dubai additionally highlights Mr. Prince’s shut ties to the United Arab Emirates and its ruler, Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Zayed. Mr. Prince has been linked to a variety of mercenary efforts on behalf of the Emirates, together with an effort to fight Somali pirates, based on a earlier U.N. report. The U.A.E. additionally has been a key navy backer of Mr. Haftar, sending air defenses, armed drones, ammunition and airplanes to help the militia chief’s campaigns, based on a number of U.N. stories. Mr. Prince visited Abu Dhabi in current weeks, based on the diplomat.

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The U.N. report, the diplomat mentioned, additionally accuses Mr. Prince of violating a U.N. Safety Council decision by failing to offer details about the alleged violations of the arms embargo when contacted by the Panel of Consultants.

Along with naming Mr. Prince within the report, the U.N. Panel of Consultants can also be anticipated to individually refer Mr. Prince to the United Nations’ Sanctions Committee, which can decide about whether or not to impose an asset freeze or journey ban to be applied by particular person international locations together with the U.S., the diplomat mentioned.

Write to Jared Malsin at jared.malsin@wsj.com

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