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Originally published Saturday, December 22, 2012 at 8:13 AM

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Ex-Tunisian dictator's property goes under hammer

Tunisian authorities are putting property confiscated from ousted Tunisian dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali up for auction. That includes a pair of miniature gold sphinxes, a diamond-encrusted pen and a staggering 39 luxury cars.

The Associated Press

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TUNIS, Tunisia —

Tunisian authorities are putting property confiscated from ousted Tunisian dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali up for auction. That includes a pair of miniature gold sphinxes, a diamond-encrusted pen and a staggering 39 luxury cars.

Officials hope the sale, which was inaugurated by Tunisia's Prime Minister Hamadi Jebali in Tunis Saturday, will fetch some 20 million dinar ($12.9 million) for the state.

One of the rarities up for grabs is a super-pricy Mercedes that belonged to Ben Ali's nephew. Mohammed Lassaad Hamayed of Tunisia's confiscation committee calls the car "a handmade gem made of carbon fibers that costs more than (EURO)2 million ($2.6 million)."

He says "only Mohamed VI (the King of Morocco) has a similar one."

Ben Ali was ousted by a popular uprising in January 2011.

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