Libya: Group Occupies London Mansion Owned by Gaddafi’s Son

Posted on March 12, 2011


Written byJohn Liebhardt
Squatters moved in to Saif Gaddafi's house in North LondonSquatters moved in to Saif Gaddafi’s house in North London by Alex Milan Tracy © Demotix (09/03/2011)

This post is part of our special coverage Libya Uprising 2011.

A London-based group is now occupying a house it says is owned by Saif al-Islam Muammar al-Gaddafi, the 38-year-old second son of Muammar al Gaddafi.

In what could become a new method to repatriate stolen funds from long-serving and corrupt leaders and their families, members of Topple the Tyrants said they would occupy the eight-bedroom house in sympathy with the people of Libya and to ensure the money used for its purchase is returned to the country’s treasury.

In a press release, the group said:

Our aim is to make sure that the assets stolen by Gaddafi are returned to the Libyan people and don’t disappear into the pockets of governments or corporations. In the meantime we want to welcome refugees from the conflict in Libya and those fleeing tyranny and oppression across the world.”

Topple the Tyrants said they are taking matter into their own hands because they don’t “trust the British government to properly seize the Gaddafi regime’s corrupt assets.”

Here is a photo of the house — with members of Topple the Tyrants on its roof — uploaded to Twit Pics by nusibab.

The house, reportedly worth £10 million (about $16 million), is situated in Hampstead in north central London, home to some of the most expensive properties in the United Kingdom. According to press reports, the house also contains an indoor swimming pool, a sauna, jacuzzi and a private movie theater.

Saif earned an MBA from IMADEC University in Vienna and famously received a PHd for his dissertation on global governance institutions from the London School of Economics in 2008 (Some claim much of the dissertation was plagarized.) Saif seems to hold a tremendous amount of unofficial power within the Libyan government, being the first member of the government to speak to the public after the regime began its violent crackdown on protesters. During that speech he blamed Facebook, foreign mercenaries, Islamists, drug addicts and a poorly trained army for the violent crackdown on protesters.

Saif bought the house in 2009 and recently tried to put it up for sale, taking it off the market when anti-Gaddafi protests spread through much of the country. A spokesman for Topple the Tyrants told Agence France Presse: “When we found out one of the world’s most brutal dictators owned property in north London it seemed like an obvious thing to occupy it for the people of Libya.The group complained that members of the regimes of Gaddafi, Mubarek and the Saud family use “front companies” to protect their anonymity and dodge taxes.