An Emirati arrested in Tripoli on suspicion of spying on Libyan authorities in charge of the capital was an ex-sergeant dismissed by Dubai police five years ago, the force said on Twitter.
The unnamed suspect was arrested on 5 November and is being questioned, Siddick al-Sour, the head of the prosecutor general’s office in Tripoli told AFP.
He said the United Arab Emirates national is connected to the police in Dubai and was on his third visit to Libya since 2012.
“He claims to be a businessman and to have no ties to the Dubai police but intelligence agents found pictures on his phone of sensitive locations in Tripoli, including a video of the Turkish embassy,” said Sour.
Dubai police chief Khamis al-Muzainah said in a late Wednesday statement on his force’s official Twitter account that the allegations were “false and far away from truth.”
“The arrested suspect’s relation with the police had ended five years ago (in 2010) when he was dismissed from military service for his involvement in a moral case,” said Muzainah.
Libya has had two administrations since August 2014, when an Islamist-backed militia alliance overran Tripoli, forcing the internationally recognised government to take refuge in Tobruk, in the far east of the country.
The oil-rich north African country descended into chaos after the fall of Muammar Gaddafi in its 2011 revolution.
Authorities in Tripoli accuse the UAE of supporting the internationally recognised government and have accused the UN’s outgoing Libya envoy of a conflict of interest for accepting a high-paid job in Abu Dhabi while mediating peace talks.
Bernardino Leon denied that his appointment at the government-funded Emirates Diplomatic Academy had compromised his neutrality, although he told journalists last week that “maybe I could have done things in a different way”.
UAE warplanes secretly bombed Islamist militia targets in Libya from bases in Egypt late last year, US officials say even though Abu Dhabi has not publicly acknowledged involvement.
Egypt denied any “direct” role in the raids.