Police have arrested a man trying to sell a smuggled ivory dagger belonging to slain Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi to a Saudi national.
The Turkish businessman, identified only as A.A., and two others suspected of being his accomplices were arrested in an anti-smuggling raid in the Esenyurt suburb of Istanbul, state-run Anadolu Agency reported on Monday.
The dagger bejeweled with diamonds, sapphires, emeralds, and rubies was confiscated along with a bespangled scabbard and a base ornate with lion figurines.
The Turkish national had reportedly bought the dagger, which was looted from one of Gaddafi’s palaces in 2011, for $4.6 million in Libya three months earlier. He planned to sell the dagger to a Saudi businessman for more than double the price at $10 million.
Libyans walk inside the house of Aisha, Muammar Gaddafi’s daughter, in Tripoli on August 26, 2011. ©Reuters
Libya plunged into chaos following Gaddafi’s ouster in 2011 that gave rise to a patchwork of heavily-armed militias and deep political divisions. The Daesh Takfiri terrorist group has also been taking advantage of the chaos embroiling the North African country since the NATO-backed overthrow of Gaddafi.