The astonishing wealth of Libyan tyrant Muammar Gaddafi and his family has been laid bare as countries around the world begin freezing billions of dollars worth of their assets.

The U.S. alone has seized $30billion (£18.5bn) of their investments, while Canada has frozen $2.4bn (£1.5bn), Austria, $1.7bn (£1bn) and the UK, $1bn ($600m).

These assets appear to be just the tip of the iceberg, as no one is yet certain exactly what the family owns around the world.

But they include an enormous portfolio of properties in the West End theatre and shopping district of London - worth $455m (£280m) as well as $325m (£200m) in shares in Pearson, the owner of the Financial Times and Penguin books.

Gaddafi's House
© Phillip IdeAssets: Gaddafi's son Saif bought this $15million (£10m) home in one of London's most affluent suburbs in 2009. It boasts a swimming pool, eight bedrooms, a sauna and a Jacuzzi
The assets also include a $15million luxury mansion in an affluent suburb of North London.

Nestled among the homes of TV presenters and actors is the eight-bed home with a swimming pool, sauna, jacuzzi and suede-lined cinema room.

The house even has an electrically operated rubbish store, which raises and lowers eight bins into the ground before a steel plate folds over to hide them discreetly.

It was bought mortgage-free by Capitana Seas Ltd, a holding company registered in the British Virgin Islands and owned by Gaddafi's most high-profile son, Saif.

Residents in the neighbourhood have been campaigning to oust Saif, a former student of the London School of Economics, who acquired the property in 2009.

© unknownLuxurious: The suede-lined cinema room in the property, which was bought mortgage-free in 2009 by a holding company owned by Saif

© CNNStylish: The large swimming pool in the London home

© CNNModern: The property has a minimalistic feel with neutral furnishings. It also has a state-of-the-art whole of house sound system
Dr Saul Zadka has been leading the community action, and described how he did not want to 'live next to a mass murderer, even though he became a very acceptable figure among the British high society and political echelons'.

Dr Zadka told the local newspaper, the Hampstead and Highgate Express: 'We feel disgusted by the massacres that are taking place in Libya.

'I am organising a meeting and petition against him next week because we do not want to have a mass murderer next to us.

'Many of the neighbours feel the same as me but they are scared of retributions. We want to force anyone associated with Gaddafi out of this house.

'But some residents were not even aware that he lived there. People in this sleepy neighbourhood need to wake up to this.'

It is thought that the family's assets in Britain could exceed $10billion, as some are owned by the Libyan Investment Authority, a sovereign wealth fund, rather than the ruling household.

© CorbesVienna: Saif Gaddafi lived in a luxury villa on the outskirts of Vienna and housed his white pet tiger in the city's zoo. The central bank has frozen $1.7bn

© BBCFloundering tyrant: Gaddafi, pictured last night as he made a series of bizarre statements, has had billions of pounds worth of his assets frozen along with his daughter and four sons

Saif al-Islam Gaddafi
© EPAWealthy: Saif al-Islam Gaddafi addresses a press conference in the Libyan capital Tripoli yesterday. His assets around the world have been frozen
A source close to the British Chancellor George Osborne - who personally ordered the seizure of Gaddafi's London assets - insisted all of the assets associated with Gaddafi would be frozen.

He said: 'The freeze is not limited to assets held in the name of designated persons.

'It extends to any funds or economic resources owned or controlled by persons acting on their behalf.'

British Prime Minister David Cameron said: 'We are now putting serious pressure on this regime.

'The travel ban and the asset freeze are the measures we are taking against the regime to show just how isolated they are.'

As well as his London home, Saif Gaddafi also has considerable investments in Austria, where he lived in a luxury villa on the outskirts of Vienna and housed his white pet tiger in the city's zoo.

He studied in the capital and was a close friend of the late Austrian far-right politician Joerg Haider, accompanying him to the high-profile Opera Ball in 2006.

The country's central bank said around $1.7bn (£1bn) in Libyan assets were deposited in Austrian institutions.

It announced today that it would be freezing these funds, but declined to give a figure for the total amount of Libyan assets in Austria, which are thought to include extensive property and company stakes.

© EPACrisis: Thousands of refugees try to flee Libya over the Tunisian border today. The Gaddafi family's assets have been frozen in a bid to force the tyrant out of power
In all, six of the Gaddafi family have had their assets frozen - including Saif's brothers Hannibal, Khamis and Mutassim, and his sister Aisha.

Switzerland was one of the first countries to freeze the assets, making the announcement a week ago.

A spokesman for the Swiss Foreign Ministry said on February 24: 'To pre-empt any misuse of state funds, the cabinet today decided to block all assets in Switzerland belonging to Moammar Gaddafi and his entourage with immediate effect.

'The sale of the property of these persons - in particular real estate - or disposing of it in any way is forbidden as of now.'

The freezing order is valid for three years, the ministry added.

As well as freezing the Gaddafi family's assets, Britain has signed an order prohibiting the export of uncirculated Libyan banknotes without a licence.

© UNHCR / Reuters / World Energy Atlas
The Treasury has set up a unit to trace the rest of the assets and has sent a note to all UK banks and financial institutions asking them to carry out due diligence to identify any of the family's assets that they hold.

The European Union yesterday agreed to freeze all of Gaddafi's assets as part of a sanctions agreement, which also includes a travel ban and an arms embargo.

Germany said it was proposing a 60-day freeze on all financial payments to Libya in a bid to stop funds from reaching Gaddafi.

Guido Westerwelle, the German finance minister, said: 'We are working to ensure that all financial flows are cut off.'

Canada also announced yesterday that it was freezing Gaddafi's assets and halting all financial transactions between Ottawa and the government in Tripoli, Libya's capital.

'Far from protecting the Libyan people against peril, he (Gaddafi) is the root cause of the dangers they face,' Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper said.

'It is clear that the only acceptable course of action for him is to halt the bloodshed and to immediately vacate his position and authority.'