The 280 million Libyan dinars, officially worth about $234 million (144 million pounds), is part of a consignment worth about $1.5 billion ordered by Gaddafi from British printing firm De La Rue Plc but blocked by Britain in March after he cracked down on protests.
Now that National Transitional Council forces have overthrown Gaddafi, Britain is releasing the money to ease a cash crunch. The remainder will be delivered “shortly,” Foreign Secretary William Hague said in a statement.
“We have been very short of cash,” Central Bank of Libya Governor Gasem Azzoz told Reuters as he waited for the secretive flight on the tarmac at Benghazi’s airport after nightfall on Wednesday.
He said workers had been going without their regular salaries and that many Libyans had been hoarding currency after losing faith in the banking system.
While at the 1.19 dinar-to-dollar rate quoted on the interbank market on Thursday the 280 million dinars is worth about $234 million, it would likely only fetch about $200 million at the current street rate in Benghazi.