Libya's vast oil reserves have enabled it to invest more than $70 billion (£43 billion) around the world - making it a major shareholder in companies such as the Financial Times, Fiat and Juventus football club.
The Libyan Investment Authority (LIA), the crisis-stricken country's
main financial vehicle, spent £224 million on a 3% stake in Pearson, the education group behind the Financial Times, last June.
The LIA recently set up a hedge fund in London and has bought a host of properties in the UK, paying £155 million for Portman House, a 146,550 square foot (13,600 sq metres) retail complex on Oxford Street, and £120 million for an office at 14 Cornhill - opposite the Bank of England in the heart of the City.
Libya is expected to pour billions more dollars into Britain in the next few years.
Libya has been switching its ever-growing funds from low-yielding company shares into all manner of higher-return investments in recent years.
Its investments in Italy include a stake of about 2% in Fiat, 7.5% of Juventus football club, a 2% stake in - and joint venture with - Italian aerospace and defence group Finmeccanica and 7.5% in UniCredit, the bank.