ISTANBUL (AP) — Turkish police on Monday caught a man trying to sell a jeweled dagger allegedly pillaged from the palace of former Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi, according to the state-run news agency.
Police confiscated the ivory carved dagger which was encrusted with rubies, sapphires, emeralds and diamonds, during a raid in the Istanbul suburb of Esenyurt, the Anadolu Agency reported. Alongside the dagger, police found a studded sheath and an ornate base decorated with lion figures.
A businessman, who allegedly bought the dagger for $4.6 million in Libya three months ago, and two suspected accomplices were detained in an anti-smuggling operation.
Identified by his initials, A.A., the businessman was caught trying to sell the dagger to a Saudi national for $10 million.
Gadhafi was overthrown and killed in 2011 after a NATO-backed uprising. The Islamic State group and other extremists have gained ground in the power vacuum following Gadhafi’s ouster.
The three men were released pending trial on possible charges of smuggling and breaching the rules relating to the trade in endangered species.