TRIPOLI, May 3 (Reuters) - Libya said on Tuesday that Muammar Gaddafi had no personal money in Swiss bank accounts and that any cash held in the Alpine country belonged to the government’s foreign investment arm.
Switzerland said on Monday it had found 360 million Swiss francs ($418.4 million) of potentially illegal assets linked to Gaddafi and his circle in Swiss banks.
Libyan Deputy Foreign Minister Khaled Kaim said that Libyan government entities had closer to 25 million Swiss francs in bank accounts in Switzerland.
“The money in bank accounts abroad is part of the investment portfolio of the government abroad,” he told reporters. “If there is a single penny of the leader’s money ... you are free to take it and to give it to anyone.”
Relations between Switzerland and Libya soured in July 2008, when Geneva police arrested Gaddafi’s son Hannibal on charges of abusing two domestic employees. The charges were later dropped after a confidential settlement was reached with the victims.
Libya withdrew more than $5 billion from Swiss banks at the time, halted oil exports to Switzerland and barred two Swiss businessmen working in Libya from leaving the country for more than a year. (Reporting by Lin Noueihed, editing by Tim Pearce)
$1=.8605 Swiss Franc