Tripoli wants CHF 832,000 in bail for two Swiss

10th September 2009, Comments 0 comments

The diplomatic standoff between Libya and Switzerland continues as Libya demands about CHF 832 000 bail for the Swiss businessmen who have been barred from leaving the country.

Geneva – Libya has demanded about CHF 832 000 (USD 800,000) in bail as a condition for allowing two Swiss businessmen, who have been barred from leaving the country, to return home, Swiss radio reported Tuesday.

Citing unnamed "sources close to the issue, on the Swiss side", Radio Suisse Romande said that "Libya is demanding 500,000 Libyan dinars (CHF 433, 058) in bail to free each of the two Swiss."

Swiss authorities said on Friday that President Hans-Rudolf Merz had received a "written assurance" that the businessmen would be allowed to leave Libya before the end of August.

But several hours before the clock ticked into September, Libyan Foreign Minister Abdelrahman Mohammed Shalgam told Swiss television that the two businessmen still had to meet the public prosecutor before leaving Libyan territory.

"They will be seeing (the public prosecutor) again before their departure, but I can't specify the date," said Khaled Kaim in an interview broadcast Monday night by Television Suisse Romande.

"Let's wait until tomorrow (which) will be a public holiday in Tripoli and I hope after that ... we will hear good news about them," added the minister.

Gala events are being held Tuesday to commemorate Moamer Kadhafi's 40 years in power.

Libya and Switzerland have been locked in a diplomatic standoff following the arrest of one of Kadhafi's sons in a luxury Geneva hotel in July last year.

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

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

But the incident sparked a flurry of reprisals from the Kadhafi family.

In retaliation, Tripoli imposed a freeze on Swiss business, the withdrawal of Libyan assets from Swiss banks and a disruption to oil deliveries.

In addition, a Swiss businessman who worked for Swedish-Swiss engineering giant ABB and another employee of a small construction firm were prevented from leaving the North African country.

The two, who are staying in the Swiss embassy, were accused of immigration offences.

Tripoli last month promised to allow the pair to leave after the Swiss president apologised to the Libyan people during a visit to the country.

AFP / Expatica

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