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Swiss Man Returns Home After Two Years Held In Libya

Libyan police escort Swiss businessman Max Goeldi in front of the Swiss Embassy in Tripoli in February.
Swiss businessman Max Goeldi has returned to Switzerland after being held for nearly two years in Libya.

Goeldi was accompanied on the flight from Tripoli to Zurich by Swiss Foreign Minister Micheline Calmy-Rey and Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos, whose country currently holds the European Union presidency.

Goeldi had been serving a four-month prison sentence in Libya for violating immigration rules when he was released last week, clearing the way for his return to Switzerland.

Goeldi, who worked in Libya for engineering firm ABB, and another Swiss businessman were detained by Libyan authorities in July 2008 after Swiss police briefly arrested Hannibal Gaddafi, a son of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, and his wife over allegations they had abused staff at a Geneva hotel.

The case against Hannibal Gaddafi was later dropped, but ties between Libya and Switzerland continued to deteriorate, with Libya halting oil exports to Switzerland and withdrawing assets from Swiss banks.

compiled from agency reports