Man arrested in Turkey allegedly trying to sell ivory dagger from Gaddafi palace

The dagger is believed to have been pillaged from the dictator's palace

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A Libyan rebel checks the destroyed palace of his country's ousted leader Muammar Gaddafi in Sirte, Libya. Image: Bela Szandelszky / AP/Press Association Images

A businessman is reported to have been arrested in Turkey trying to sell a jewelled dagger said to have been stolen from the palace of the former Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi.

State media said the man was trying to sell the dagger - made of ivory and decorated with gems including emeralds, diamonds and sapphires - to Saudi customers for $10 million (€8.6m), Hurriyet Daily News reports.

The man claimed to have been sold the dagger by opposition groups in Libya for $4.6m (around €4.1m).

Two men working with the businessman were also arrested by anti-smuggling officers - who are reported to have been dressed as traffic police during the operation.

The raid took place in a suburb of Istanbul. A sheath and ornate base were also recovered.

The Guardian reports the three men have been released, but could face charges related to smuggling and breaching international agreements on the trade in endangered species.

Gaddafi's four-decade rule was brought to an end by a six-month uprising and ensuing civil war, with the UK and its NATO partners carrying out airstrikes against the Gaddafi regime.

The leader was eventually captured and killed by rebel fighters in his hometown of Sirte in October 2011.