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SFr1.5 million paid for Swiss hostage release

Switzerland has paid SFr1.5 million ($1.33 million) to a German bank account for the release of Swiss hostage Max Göldi.

This content was published on June 17, 2010 - 08:12

The Swiss businessman, who had been caught in the middle of a row between Switzerland and Libya, arrived in Switzerland on Monday morning after being detained for almost two years in Libya.

The Swiss foreign ministry on Wednesday evening confirmed a Swiss radio report and said the money would be transferred to Tripoli if the person responsible for publishing in a Geneva newspaper police photos of Hannibal Gaddafi, the son of Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi, is not found and brought to justice.

No compensation has yet been paid to the Gaddafi family, said foreign ministry spokesman Lars Knuchel in a statement, denying earlier reports from Tripoli.

Libyan Foreign Minister Moussa Koussa said on Sunday that the Swiss justice authorities had decided that the family should receive nearly €1.5 million (SFr2 million) in compensation and that this had already been paid.

Knuchel’s statement said that to free Göldi “trust-building measures were necessary” and that both sides had agreed SFr1.5 million was a befitting amount.

On Thursday canton Geneva ruled out making any contribution to the SFr1.5 miilion payment.

The president of the cantonal government said he didn't see why Geneva should compensate Hannibal.

"We will not contribute to this strange payment," Francois Longchamp told Le Temps newspaper.

The brief detention in July 2008 of Hannibal and his wife, on suspicion of mistreating two of their servants, triggered the Swiss-Libyan crisis which included the four-month imprisonment of Göldi.

swissinfo.ch and agencies

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