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Swiss businessman fined in Libya

A Libyan court has sentenced Swiss businessman Max Göldi to a fine of 1,000 dinars (SFr 865) for violating Libyan business regulations.

The decision was communicated to Göldi’s lawyer, Salah Zahaf, on Saturday.

The Swiss foreign ministry confirmed the sentence, but had no comment to make.

Göldi, the head of Libyan operations for the Swiss-Swedish engineering giant ABB, is one of two Swiss nationals who have been prevented from leaving Libya since July 2008.

The other man, Rachid Hamdani, who works for a construction company, faces the same charges. His case is to be heard on Sunday.

The two have already been sentenced to 16 months in jail for violating Libya’s immigration rules, but Hamdani’s conviction on this count was overturned on appeal last week. Göldi’s appeal was due to be heard last Thursday, but was postponed until February 11.

Zahaf told Reuters news agency that no decision had yet been made about whether Göldi will appeal against the second conviction.

According to the human rights organisation, Amnesty International, which has been closely monitoring the case, Göldi was not in court to hear the verdict.

He and Hamdani are living in the Swiss embassy in Tripoli, where they cannot be arrested.

The two were arrested amid a diplomatic spat between Switzerland and Libya following the detention in Geneva of one of Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi’s sons and his wife in July 2008, suspected of beating up two of their domestic staff.

The Gaddafi couple were released on bail and charges were later dropped after the servants were recompensed.

Libya subsequently took a number of measures against Switzerland. However, the authorities in Tripoli insists that the charges against the businessmen are unrelated.

swissinfo.ch and agencies


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