A black Cadillac Escalade belonging to the son of late Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi has been impoundedby Italian tax police outside a luxury hotel where it has been parked for the last four years after the son simply left it behind.
The Italian tax police, the Guardia di Finanza, showed up at the lavish Excelsior Palace Hotel, which is set in terraced gardens with panoramic views of the bay of Portofino, and officially taped up Al-Saadi Gadhafi’s luxury SUV, ready to be towed away.
The tax police seized the car following a request made earlier this year by the International Criminal Court in the Hague to collect all former Gadhafi assets to compensate victims of the dictator’s 32-year regime.
The Excelsior’s manager Aldo Werdin told ABC News today that the car has been parked the hotel’s lot since February 2008 when the dictator summoned his son back to Libya.
“He left his friends and two adored dogs at the hotel,” Werdin said. “After a few days the Libyan embassy came and picked up the friends and the dogs, but refused to pay the bill and didn’t take the car.”
Gadhafi left owing the hotel 370,000 euros, or more than $450,000. The bill has yet to be paid despite legal action taken by the hotel.
The dictator’s son was known for his high-living and fashionable, flashy tastes while he toyed with a soccer career in Italy, playing briefly for the Perugia and Udine soccer teams, but he never succeeded as a soccer star.
Instead, he spent his time enjoying the high life, spending on average about 3,000 euros a day for lodging and meals and traveling about with an entourage of about 15 people including his wife, drivers, body guards, personal secretaries.
Werdin said Gadhafi was almost a permanent guest from January 2007 to February 2008 when his father demanded he return to Libya.
“He kept a suite and about three rooms in the hotel. One room was dedicated to his beloved dogs and their trainer,” Werdin said.
Gadhafi’s car had become a tourist attraction in the town of Rapallo, with some posing in front of the Cadillac Escalade which sports a Porsche engine. Werdin said he never considered trying to sell the car to compensate for the bill, saying, “Who would want that petrol guzzler?”
Besides, he said, “We hoped he or someone for him would show up to remove it, and maybe pay the outstanding bill.”
Werdin said Gadhafi wasn’t a bad guest, when he was alone.
“Alone he was calm, but when his friends came there were parties, they’d play drums and it would be difficult as the other guests would complain,” he said.
Al-Saadi Gadhafi, who was commander of the Libyan Special forces, supported his father along with his brothers in the Libyan civil war last year. He is now wanted by Interpol and last believed to be in Niger where he and more than 30 other Gadhafi loyalists fled after Tripoli fell to rebels in September 2011.
Libya continues to be unstable after the revolution. On Saturday, Libyans will vote in their first democratic elections in over four decades. The 200 members of the Constituent Assembly being elected in this vote will draft and approve the country’s new constitution.