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A comeback for Gaddafi’s playboy heir

Saif Gaddafi: on his way back to power? Karim Jaafar/AFP/Getty

Saif Gaddafi, second son and heir apparent of Muammar Gaddafi, was the “international, acceptable face” of his father’s Libyan dictatorship, say Paul Caruana Galizia and Juliette Garside in The Guardian. The World Economic Forum named him a “Young Global Leader”, and in his spare time he studied for a PhD in philosophy at the LSE. But a new cache of leaked emails sheds light on what he got up to off-duty. At a New Year’s Eve party in 2006 at a villa in Uruguay, complete with DJ and “naked models swimming in the pool”, a “whole roast lamb” was delivered every day for a week. When he booked a 61 ft yacht for the summer of 2009, one of his fixers contacted an escort agency, which sent explicit photos of the women on its books. “They are good as solo,” wrote the agency. “If we speak about pairs, I recommend Leonie with Szilvi or with Chanel, or Chanel with Marsha.”

But when civil war erupted in 2011, Saif was betrayed by a trusted aide and captured by rebels. Though they claimed to have released him in 2017, he wasn’t seen in public until last year, when he re-emerged, “dressed in Berber robes”, to announce he would run for president. The many Libyans who “long for the relative stability of the Gaddafi years” may well back him.

🛥✨ In 2010, Saif received an email which appears to be from supermodel Naomi Campbell. It said that Campbell’s “great friend” Ghislaine Maxwell wanted to come to Libya on her boat, and asked Saif to oversee the jaunt. The message was signed off with “hugs hugs” and “Love and Light”.