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Switzerland gets Libyan compensation money back

Money set aside in a blocked German account to compensate a son of Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi over the leaking of police mugshots has been repaid to Switzerland.

The foreign ministry said on Wednesday that the SFr1.5 million ($1.8 million) had been returned after discussions between Foreign Minister Micheline Calmy-Rey and her German counterpart Guido Westerwelle.

Libya had complained to a Geneva court about a Swiss newspaper's publication of photos of Hannibal Gaddafi, taken in July 2008 when he was detained over allegations that he and his wife had mistreated two of their servants while staying in a hotel in the city.

Switzerland had undertaken to pay compensation for Hannibal’s legal costs if it proved impossible to discover who had leaked the photos and the money was lodged in Germany. A foreign ministry spokesman said earlier this year that both sides had agreed the money should be used for humanitarian purposes.

The ministry said the agreement to pay compensation was “the condition for the release” of Swiss businessman Max Göldi, who was prevented from leaving Libya for two years, and who eventually served a four month jail term in Tripoli for alleged visa violations.

The foreign ministry statement said the money had been returned on Monday.  

In the wake of the uprising against the Libyan regime, which broke out in February, Switzerland froze all holdings of members of the Gaddafi clan and its entourage. Switzerland has so far given more than SFr3 million in aid to the civilian population of the country, and opened a humanitarian office in the rebel stronghold of Benghazi and agencies


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