With the death of Muammar Gaddafi, a 42-year reign of terror and violence in Libya draws to a close. But for the small army of auditors and bankers tasked with tracking down the colonel's ill-gotten fortune (at least $30 billion in the U.S. alone), the work has only just begun. Perhaps the most concrete reminder of Gaddafi's legacy is his family's impressive real estate holdings.
It also didn't help that neighbors essentially paid for his taxes. Because the home was established as sovereign Libyan territory, whoever lived there did so tax-free. High-profile neighbors to the Libyan strongman included Eddie Murphy, John Travolta, and Lil' Kim.
In 2009, during a visit to the United Nations in New York, he planned to erect a Bedouin-style tent at the Palisades Avenue home just days after giving the recently-released Lockerbie bomber, Adel Basset al-Megrahi, a hero's welcome. After a very vocal backlash, Gaddafi was not be allowed to pitch his elaborate tent.
Across the Atlantic, the Georgian-style London mansion of the colonel's 38-year-old son, Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, has been at the center of an international protest since March. As the civil war raged on in Libya, a group of Libyan expats and sympathizers determined that the £11million ($17.5 million) townhouse belonged to the dictator's absentee son -- and decided to squat in it. (That's the home pictured at the top of the post, being occupied by protesters in March.)
The protesters, who adopted the name "Topple the Tyrant," laid banners over the roof of the building saying "Out of London, Out of Libya," with an X over Gaddafi's portrait. Inside, the protesters found an indoor swimming pool, state-of-the-art home theater, and widescreen TVs throughout the premises. The home, which was purchased mortgage-free in 2009, drew headlines when Gaddafi's known assets were frozen earlier this year. The tony home represents just a fraction of the Gaddafi family's exorbitant fortune, which is already said to exceed $168 billion.
While it remains unlikely that the Gaddafi fortune will ever be fully accounted for, the dictator and his eight children's real estate holdings reveal just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to restoring Libya's lost billions.
Location: Rancho Santa Fe, Calif.
Sq. Ft.: 16,500
So you've got the 13-seat movie theater, underground path with stone walls and sconces, hand-carved walnut furniture, game room, Roman spa with mosaic walls, Italian stone fountains, tennis court, 10-car garage and -- drumroll -- dog-grooming station. Yeah, that all comes with this jaw-dropper. But a two-lane bowling alley? That's just rad.
So you can sunbathe and not get sunburned at home. If you get tired of soaking in ultraviolet-free rays, you've also got a bowling alley and tennis court at your disposal. And lots of vintage wine in the wine cellar.
No room for swimming laps in this puppy. But that's not what it's about: You've got the billiards table, bowling alley and tennis court for exercise. (OK, maybe it's a stretch to consider billiards a form of exercise.)
We're not quite sure why this house is called "Tabula Rasa" -- the epistemological theory that humans are born as blank slates without any built-in mental content. One interpretation: The original owner feels he willed this mega-mansion into existence. It boasts its own private indoor basketball court and two-lane bowling alley.
Touted as "Buckhead's finest estate," this Southern mansion sits on three private acres and boasts a picture-perfect pool and hot tub in the back. But what really caught our eye was the home's golf simulator.
For those elusive roller-hockey aficionados: Odds are, during the games here, checking is a big no-no; you nail someone into the boards in this arena, and they've got a good chance of tumbling over them.
Location: Castle Rock, Colo.
Price: $3.999 million
Sq. Ft.: 10,668
Stretching 73 acres, this estate delivers a whole lot of real estate and clearly had an owner at some point who adores our national pastime. In addition to a baseball diamond and indoor batting range, the mansion offers a stunning backyard pool and seven-car garage.
Location: Incline Village, Nev.
Price: $49.9 million
Sq. Ft.: 2,368
For some tycoons there may come a time when collecting cars gets old. If that happens, they should buy this compound. It has a garage that is so big that you can store nine buses in it. The residence spans five parcels that can be purchased individually. They contain the Main House, Lake House and Carriage House (which houses the garage).