Swiss Pay $1.7M over U.S. Woman Killed by Embassy Staffer


Switzerland said Wednesday it had paid $1.7 million in compensation after a Swiss embassy driver, who once worked for the Gadhafi family, hit and killed a woman in Washington in 2011.

The embassy driver, a former servant of Hannibal Gadhafi -- one of the sons of toppled Libyan strongman Moammar Gadhafi -- has since been sacked, the Swiss foreign ministry said.

The Swiss government will pay the woman's husband $1.4 (1.3 million euros), while civil liability insurance will cover the remaining $300,000, it said.

Trudith Rishikof was crossing a busy street in the U.S. capital on October 6, 2011 when she was hit by a large Swiss embassy vehicle.

Harvey Rishikof, a former professor of law and national security at Washington's National Defense University and an expert on terrorism, filed a lawsuit against the Swiss government, demanding $10 million in compensation.

The driver was Kamal Mortada, a Moroccan man who had been given protection by the Swiss foreign ministry in the wake of the so-called Geneva affair in 2008, when Swiss authorities arrested Hannibal Gadhafi and his wife after complaints they abused two of their staff.

Relations between Libya and Switzerland plummeted after the arrest, with Libya taking a number of retaliatory measures.

Tripoli imposed economic measures against Switzerland, including closing Swiss companies and stopping flights, and arrested two Swiss nationals working in Libya.

Mortada, who was 41 at the time of the accident, had been moved to Washington as there were fears for his safety in Switzerland.

The foreign ministry said it had terminated his contract at the end of 2014.

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