After New Year’s Day 2009, Western media reported that Seif al-Islam al-Gaddafi, a son of the Libyan leader Colonel Muammar al-Gaddafi, had paid Mariah Carey $1 million to sing just four songs at a bash on the Caribbean island of St Barts.
In the newspaper he controlled, Seif indignantly denied the report — the big spender, he said, was his brother, Muatassim, Libya’s national security adviser, according to an American diplomatic cable from the capital, Tripoli.
It was Muatassim, too, the cable said, who had demanded $1.2 billion in 2008 from the chairman of Libya’s national oil corporation, reportedly to establish his own militia.
The cables obtained by WikiLeaks offer a vivid account of the lavish spending, rampant nepotism and bitter rivalries that have defined what a cable called “Qadhafi Incorporated”.
A confidant described Gaddafi’s children as thugs, saying that “no one can cross or refuse such people without suffering consequences, particularly when the matter is to do with money,” the cable said.
As for the 68-year-old Colonel Gaddafi, the cables provide an arresting portrait, describing him as a hypochondriac who who fears flying over water and is accompanied everywhere by a “voluptuous blonde,” the senior member of his posse of Ukrainian nurses.