Libyan fund to leave Geneva amid tensions

23rd September 2009, Comments 0 comments

The Libyan African Portfolio plans to end operations in its Swiss branch due to a diplomatic dispute.

Geneva -- A Libyan investment fund is looking to leave the Swiss banking city of Geneva amid tensions between Bern and Tripoli, an economics monthly Private Banking said Tuesday.

The Swiss branch of the Libyan African Portfolio, which manages over USD 5 billion (CHF 5.1 billion, EUR 3.4 billion) in assets, "is looking to leave Geneva before year end due to current tensions" between Switzerland and Libya, said the October edition of the monthly.

Switzerland and Libya have been in a dispute since July 2008, when one of Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi's sons was arrested in a luxury Geneva hotel.

According to an unnamed source, the Libyan fund may end operations here due to pressure on its employees.

"The pressure has become very difficult to stand and the company could close by year end and set up somewhere else," an anonymous source told the magazine.

Kadhafi's son Hannibal and his wife were arrested in Geneva after two of their servants, a Moroccan and a Tunisian, alleged they were mistreated.

The Kadhafi couple was freed on bail after two days in custody, while the complaint against them was later dropped after a lawyer said the servants had received compensation.

But the incident incited outrage from the Kadhafi family.

It led to a freeze on Swiss business, the withdrawal of Libyan assets from Swiss banks and disruption to oil deliveries. In addition, two Swiss businessmen were blocked from leaving the North African country.

Swiss President Hans-Rudolf Merz said in September that he was prepared to meet Libyan leader Kadhafi during the United Nations General Assembly in New York Wednesday, in order to resolve the standoff between the two countries.

Libyan assets in Switzerland in 2008 fell to CHF 628 million from some CHF 5.7 billion in 2007, according to data from the Swiss central bank.

AFP / Expatica

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