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Mobutu's Swiss villa attracts no buyers

Auctioneers waiting for bids at the auction

(Keystone)

The Swiss authorities have aborted an auction of the villa of late African dictator Mobutu Sese Seko after it failed to reach the minimum asking price.

Bidding was meant to start at SFr2.5 million ($1.5 million) for the 30-room Villa Les Miguettes, which was valued at SFr4.25 million. But local bankruptcy authorities called off the auction after 15 minutes because nobody made the first bid.

The villa will now either be auctioned at a later date, but with no minimum price, or sold to anyone who makes what is considered a reasonable offer.

The five-hectare estate in Savigny, east of Lausanne, was impounded by Swiss authorities in May 1997 as part of a general freeze on Mobutu's assets.

The Justice Ministry had hoped that proceeds from the sale would go toward settling claims by the Congolese government.

Mobutu acquired enormous wealth during more than 30 years in control of what used to be called Zaire. The authorities have frozen about $3.5 million in accounts of Mobutu and his associates.

Mobutu died of prostate cancer in Morocco in 1997.

swissinfo with agencies

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