Libya reportedly paid some €2.8 billion for Saadi Gaddafi

Libyan government thought to have paid up to €2.8 billion for Muammar Gaddafi’s son for his extradition from Niger.

Saadi Gaddafi
Saadi Gaddafi

The Libyan government is thought to have paid up to €2.8 billion for Muammar Gaddafi’s son, Saadi, who was this week extradited from Niger.

The son of the ousted despot, is best known for a brief career in Italian football as well as his playboy lifestyle, however the Libyan government led by Ali Zeidan suspects that Saadi was behind the deadly clashes in the southern city Sabha in January.

The 40-year-old, who is now in custody in Tripoli, fled to Niger after the 2011 uprising, which brought to an end his father’s 42-year reign.

Libya’s southern neighbour kept Saadi Gaddafi under house arrest in the capital Niamey, under the pretence that he would not interfere held in Libya’s internal affairs.

However, the Libyan government’s patience ran out after hundreds died in fierce clashes in southern Libya between tribes, government forces and Gaddafi loyalists.

Having evidence of Saadi’s hand behind these uprisings, the Libyan government asked for his extradition on the pretext that the agreement with Niger had been breached.

Rumours doing the rounds in Tripoli and social networks over the past few weeks, have it that Libya paid up to 5 billion Libyan dinars (€2.8 billion) after having pleaded for his extradition for months.

These demands were steadily rebuffed by Niger, who argued that it was harbouring Saadi Gaddafi on humanitarian grounds. However this week, Niger suddenly extradited Gaddafi, who was pictured in Tripoli in a blue prison jumpsuit.

The Libyan government has not announced any deal with Niger, as it had done on previous occasions, however it is thought that the €2.8 billion deal includes cash payments, investments and other forms of aid.

Mauritania deal

Since the 2011 uprising, Libya’s government has sought the extradition of several Gaddafi family members and henchmen, including that of Gaddafi’s former intelligence chief, Abdullah al-Senussi, in January 2013.

Former Libyan deputy prime minister Mostafa Abu Shagur, who was in office at the time of al-Senussi’s extradition, denied that Libya had paid for it.

Instead he had said that a €150 million payment, made months after the extradition, was made in order to assist the Mauritanian economy.

Similarly, Libyan government officials denied last year that a €1.4 billion loan to Egypt had anything to do with the extradition of former Gaddafi officials days earlier.

However, Gaddafi’s cousin and ex-envoy to Egypt, Ahmad Gaddaf-el-Dam, remains in Egypt despite Tripoli’s attempts to secure his extradition.

Niger also extradited Abdallah Mansur, a former top intelligence official, to Libya in February 2014, however it is thought that no deal was brokered in his case.

Mansur was one of 15 other officials sent back to Libya after Niger accused them of plotting against the Ali Zeidan’s government.

The Gaddafi family

Saadi, one of Muammar Gaddafi’s seven sons, is accused of shooting protesters and other crimes committed during his father’s rule.

However, Libya’s highest-profile prisoner is Gaddafi’s second son Saif al-Islam, who has been held in the mountain town of Zintan since his capture in November 2011.

The rest of the family, including Muammar Gaddafi’s wife Saifa, his daughter Aisha and sons Muhammad and Hannibal, were granted political asylum in Oman in 2012, after moving there from Algeria where they found refuge during the civil war.

Muammar Gaddafi’s other sons, Saif al-Arab and Mutassim, were killed during the revolution, while reports of Gaddafi’s youngest son Khamis’s death have never been confirmed.