A New Zealand man, who had been detained under loose house arrest in Mongolia in a banking dispute, has been released in time for Christmas.

Chris Bradley, 51, formerly of Hokitika, had been held in Ulan Bator but was released a few days ago, and is now on his way from winter temperatures of -22C to an Australian summer at the Great Barrier Reef.

The consultant for South Africa's biggest lender, Standard Bank, had been held over a disputed $131 million debt and was prevented from leaving the country.

He is a cousin of West Coast lawyer Eymard Bradley, who said today he had received an email saying Chris had been released in time for his birthday.

Advertisement

"He did not need to do anything, and he recorded his written objections."

Eymard Bradley said he had not been able to speak to his cousin, but understood he was looking forward to relaxing with his wife and children in Australia.

Mr Bradley, a former Standard Bank employee who consulted for the bank in Mongolia over the past nine years, recently told the Financial Times that he had been travelling to Mongolia "in good faith" with a team of bank employees every five weeks since May.

But three weeks ago he was told he was a suspect in a case against Just Group, a Mongolian meat, petrol and banking conglomerate that was the recipient of Standard Bank's $131m loans, and would not be allowed to leave the country.