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A yacht brokerage firm had tried to sell the boat for a reported $35 million. But Iraq said the yacht still belonged the country.

The government of Iraq is selling the yacht of its former leader Saddam Hussein, Itar-Tass reports. The existence of the 80-meter-long Basra Breeze yacht (formerly known as Qadisiyah Saddam and Ocean Breeze) has been classified for a long time. It was moored in the south of France along with millionaires’ vessels, and is currently expecting its new owner in Greece. The starting price for the floating palace is $20 million.

The yacht was built for Saddam Hussein by Danish engineers. The vessel was complete in 1981. Outwardly, it does not look so modern anymore, although the interior of the yacht was created to meet Hussein’s royal requirements. Gold, marble and other expensive materials along with mahogany furniture were used in the decoration of the luxury yacht. The Basra Breeze also has a secret passage, which allows the owner to access a motor boat and escape in case of emergency. The yacht is also outfitted with two surgery rooms and a special operation room. To crown it all, the yacht was equipped with a ground-to-air missile system, which is not going to be auctioned.

The yacht legally belongs to the incumbent government of Iraq. Organizers of the auction say that it would be naïve for them to think that the auction market has not been affected with the global economic situation, although they hope for success.

BAGHDAD (AP) – Iraq says it has decided to sell Saddam Hussein’s luxury yacht after winning a legal dispute over its ownership.

The former dictator’s 269-foot superyacht is fitted with swimming pools, salons, a secret passage and a rocket launching system (surely it’s been disabled though?)

Iraq’s government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh says in a statement that the government on Sunday agreed to part with the superyacht.

French authorities seized the boat on Jan. 31 after it docked in Nice on the Mediterranean coast. The yacht remained there while courts settled a row over the ship’s ownership.

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