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Libya pulls assets from Swiss banks

Libya has withdrawn most of its assets from Swiss bank accounts in a continuing diplomatic crisis between the two countries.

This content was published on June 28, 2009 - 12:57

The north African country last year pulled out SFr5.6 billion ($5.2 billion) of its SFr5.75 billion deposited in Swiss banks, according to statistics by the Swiss National Bank.

The Swiss foreign ministry said it had no detailed figures on Libyan assets in Switzerland, but a withdrawal had little economic impact.

In 2007 Libyan assets made up 0.3 per cent of all foreign assets in Swiss banks.

Relations between the two countries have been strained since one of the sons of the Libyan leader, Moammar Gaddafi, was arrested in Geneva last July, charged with assaulting two domestic employees.

Charges against Hannibal Gaddafi and his wife were later dropped, but Libya has been restricting Swiss business activities in the country.

Two Swiss businessmen have also been detained in Libya. They are not allowed to leave the country. In addition, a court case is pending in Geneva.

Libya is blocking the arrival of a new chargé d'affaire in Tripoli to replace the Swiss ambassador who retired earlier this year.

Swiss President Hans-Rudolf Merz is seeking a meeting with the Libyan leader in an effort to solve the standoff.

swissinfo.ch with agencies

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