Gaddafi's son granted visa for NZ

The son of Libyan leader Colonel Muammar Gaddafi is understood to be flying into New Zealand today.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (Mfat) confirmed a member of Gaddafi's family had been granted a visitor's visa.

"We know that a member of the family was planning to come to New Zealand, but the arrival date is yet to be confirmed," a ministry spokesman told The Press.

Aviation sources said it was Gaddafi's London-based son and heir apparent, Saif al Islam al Gaddafi, who was on board his father's jet which would land in Christchurch some time today.

He is expected to fly straight on to Queenstown on a smaller aircraft for a private holiday.

"In terms of entry into the country they have gone through all the usual processes and they met all the requirements for that," the Mfat spokesman said.

Saif Gaddafi, 37, has a reputation as a well-heeled, socialite bachelor who is an architect and an amateur artist.

He was pivotal in gaining the early release of Libyan Abdel Basset Ali al-Megrahi, 57, who was given a life sentence in Britain for placing an explosive device on Pam Am Flight 103 which exploded over Lockerbie in Scotland in 1998, killing 270 people.

It is understood Gaddafi's Airbus, with Air Afriqiyah livery, will remain parked at Christchurch International Airport until it flies out on January 4.

- NZPA

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