Saddam Hussein's yacht to stay on French Riviera
A French court confirms a commercial court block on the sale of Saddam’s luxury yacht and which the Iraqi state is seeking to recover.13 June 2008
MARSEILLE - A French court on Thursday confirmed a commercial court block on the sale of a luxury yacht that once belonged to dictator Saddam Hussein and which the Iraqi state is seeking to recover.
A ruling issued by the court of appeal in the southern city of Aix-en-Provence confirmed a 5 March order by a tribunal in Nice and also ordered the company Sudeley Ltd. to pay EUR 15,000 to Iraq.
Sudeley Ltd, based in the Cayman Islands, says it is the current owner of the Ocean Breeze, an 82-metre yacht delivered to the Iraqi leader in 1981.
The company is seeking to have the freeze on the sale of the yacht lifted.
The vessel formerly named the Qadissiyat Saddam is currently anchored in Nice.
The ban has prevented Sudeley from negotiating the boat's sale through London brokers for a price of more than EUR 23.5 million, according to specialist websites.
Lawyers for Sudeley are trying to show that the boat no longer belongs to the family of Saddam Hussein. They say the boat was passed on firstly to the King of Saudi Arabia and then to King Abdullah of Jordan.
The Nice tribunal, however, has said that no documents exist to prove the transfer of ownership.
The Iraqi state suspects members of Saddam Hussein's entourage of hiding behind the offshore firm in the hope of profiting from the sale.
[AFP / Expatica]