Libya’s ex-oil minister was found floating down the Danube River, which flows through Vienna, Austria, where the 69-year-old worked as a consultant for a Vienna-based company.
A police spokesman stated that the ex-minister, Shukri Ghanem’s body did not show any signs of violence, though he remarked that, “there would be nosigns of violence if someone pushed him in.”
He conceded that, “It’s also possible that he became ill and fell into the water.”
Autopsy results are expected in the next few days, and will serve to determine if Ghanem’s cause of death is natural, or otherwise.
Ghanem’s body was found near a popular recreation area, fully dressed. He carried no personal papers, but a fellow employee has confirmed his identity.
The ex-oil minister fled Libya in May of 2011, and was one of the top-ranking officials to abandon Moammar Gadhafi’s military regime.
When speaking about his defection, Ghanem stated that he left his home to, “to join the choice made by young Libyans to fight for a democratic country.”
Ghanem also stated that he would not work with Libya’s interim government (National Transitional Council), but instead that he would continue to seek refuge in Vienna, a cited he previously lived in.
Shukri Ghanem was remembered by reporters covering the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC, a summit that the ex-official used to participate in) remembered him as an incredibly friendly man, who would give his phone number to selected journalists, and was available whenever they wanted to call, even late at night.
Ghanem received advanced degrees in law and economics, allowing him to serve in senior positions of the OPEC, before he was appointed as Prime Minister of Libya in June 2003. He held that position until 2006, when he took the Oil Minister position.
Check out Shukri Ghanem’s speech here, about defecting to Austria: