Before he was forced to flee from his home country during a popular uprising in 2011, Saadi Gadhafi was described in a 2009 State Department cable as a “ne’er-do-well” who had a history of “unseemly behavior and public scuffles with authorities in Europe and elsewhere.” He also tried his hand at professional soccer in both Libya and Italy, but wasn’t able to make it in the more competitive Italian level.
As the Libyan uprising intensified in February 2011, ABC News’ Christian Amanpour spoke with Saadi, who said he worried he wouldn’t be able to go on safaris for a while and predicted that the “earthquake” in Libya was just the beginning.
“An earthquake. It’s a fever. It’s going to spread everywhere. No one can – will stop it,” he said then. “This is my personal opinion. And the chaos will be everywhere… They think it’s about freedom. Everybody loves freedom… But it’s more powerful, this earthquake. No one can control it.”
Niger accepted Saadi into the country in August 2011, reportedly on a humanitarian basis, along with other minor Libyan officials.
Weeks later, Saadi was accused by the Mexican government of planning to secretly slip across the Atlantic to set up shop in the North American country. The Mexican government said their intelligence agents disrupted the plot, but later an attorney for Saadi “vigorously denied” there was ever a plan to sneak to Mexico.
The Associated Press reported Saadi, like most Gadhafi loyalists, was wanted in Libya for his role in the violent crackdown against protesters during the 2011 uprising.