Tunisia - France

France moves to freeze Ben Ali's assets

Reuters

The French government has asked banks to block accounts belonging to Tunisia’s former president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali. France's Finance Minister Christine Lagarde said the banks have been asked to stop "unusual movements" of funds.

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However, two French anti-corruption watchdogs say they are planning to file a lawsuit against Ben Ali, alleging corruption and embezzlement.

The two groups, Sherpa and Transparency International, say that French administrative measures to prevent alleged stolen funds from “evaporating” are not enough.

The French government says its anti-money laundering centre TracFin has been asked to stop funds belonging to Ben Ali, his relatives and close advisors from leaving the country.

A spokesperson for the French government says discussions will be held with Tunisia's constitutional authorities on the future of the assets.

Meanwhile the French daily Le Monde reported that Ben Ali's wife Leila Trabelsi may have taken 1.5 tonnes in gold bars from Tunisia's central bank before she fled the country. The bank denies the allegations.

Since Ben Ali fled the country for Saudi Arabia on Friday after 23 years in charge, properties belonging to his allies in Tunisia have been looted and destroyed.

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