Turkey police seize `Gaddafi's dagger` in Istanbul: Report

The dagger, studded with sapphires, emeralds and diamonds, was looted from Gaddafi`s palace during the Libyan revolution.

AFP| Updated: Jun 14, 2016, 14:43 PM IST

Ankara: Turkish police have seized a jewel-encrusted ivory dagger said to have belonged to Libya`s late leader Moamer Gaddafi and which was going to be sold for millions of dollars on the black market, Anadolu news agency reported.

Acting on a tip-off, the police raided a house of a businessman in the Esenyurt neighbourhood of Istanbul on the European side of the city and confiscated the artefact, the state-run agency said late Monday.

The dagger, studded with sapphires, emeralds and diamonds, was looted from Gaddafi`s palace during the Libyan revolution, it added.

The businessman planned to sell the dagger on the black market to a Saudi businessmen in Istanbul, it said.

Anadolu quoted officials as saying the Istanbul businessman paid $4.6 million (4.09 million euros) for the dagger, which was purchased from Libya nearly three months ago.

The suspect was detained while trying to sell it to the Saudi businessman for $10 million, it said.

Police detained two other accomplices, according to the agency. They were released pending trial.

Anadolu published an image of the seized artefact showing the finely-crafted dagger embossed with gold and jewels supported on a stand and flanked by two white lions.

Istanbul is a hub for the smuggling of valuable art works and antiques but Turkish police regularly claim success in seizing valuable artefacts that are about to be sold illegally.

SinceGaddafi​`s killing in 2011, Libya has descended into near-anarchy, ruled by rival militias vying for power while the Islamic State group has gained influence in the country.