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Another Moammar Kadafi son on Interpol most wanted list

The international police agency, Interpol, on Thursday placed Moammar Kadafi's son Saadi on its most wanted list, where he joins his father, an elder brother and an uncle as hunted men.

Unlike the other wanted Kadafi kin, whose whereabouts remain a mystery, Saadi Kadafi is known to have taken refuge in neighboring Niger, a country caught between a longtime allegiance to Kadafi and an unease with serving as a haven for the deposed Libyan leader's fugitive entourage.

Saadi Kadafi, 38, a former professional soccer player and onetime aspiring Hollywood producer, is wanted by Libya's transitional government for "armed intimidation" and misappropriation property while he headed the Libyan Football Federation, Interpol noted.

Interpol's decision to issue a "red notice" for Saadi Kadafi will probably heighten pressure on Niger to return him to his homeland, where he could face trial and imprisonment.

There was no immediate comment from authorities in Niger, one of a number of sub-Saharan African nations where Kadafi's regime lavished funds, winning considerable goodwill. The longtime Libyan leader fashioned himself as a "guide" for the continent.

Saadi Kadafi and assorted Kadafi functionaries reportedly have been ensconced in luxury villas in Niger's capital, Niamey. Officials of Niger have said the former regime figures are under "surveillance," but it is unclear whether they are free or under house arrest.

The U.S. State Department urged Niger to disarm fleeing Kadafi regime figures and confiscate any gold, jewelry or other valuables that may have been looted from their homeland.

Saadi Kadafi was best known for his passion for soccer (he had a brief career playing in Italy), fast cars and sleek boats, along with an unfulfilled desire to use Kadafi Inc.'s vast financial resources to become a Hollywood player. But he also headed a military unit that, according to Libya's new rulers, cracked down brutally on protesters.

A 2009 U.S. Embassy cable disclosed by WikiLeaks, the anti-secrecy group, called Saadi Kadafi "notoriously ill-behaved" and cited his "troubled past, including scuffles with police in Europe (especially Italy), abuse of drugs and alcohol, excessive partying."

In recent years, Saadi Kadafi has mostly devoted himself to assorted business ventures, including a projected free-trade zone near the Tunisian border and an ambitious plan to spend about $100 million to produce independent films.

Interpol has also issued red notices for Moammar Kadafi, his son Seif Islam — once regarded as his father's likely successor — and Kadafi's longtime intelligence chief, Abdullah Sanoussi, who is also the ousted leader's brother-in-law. The International Criminal Court in The Hague is seeking the trio's arrest for alleged crimes against humanity committed during the crackdown on protests this year.

A number of Kadafi's relatives fled last month to neighboring Algeria. They include the leader's wife, Safiya; his daughter, Aisha; and two sons, Mohammed and Hannibal, along with several grandchildren. One son, Khamis, a military commander, was reported killed during fighting near Tripoli, and another, Seif Arab, was said by the regime to have been killed in a North Atlantic Treaty Organization airstrike in April.

patrick.mcdonnell@latimes.com

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