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France blocks ousted Ben Ali's accounts

Arab World Materials 18 January 2011 08:52
The French government has called on the banks in the country to freeze accounts belonging to ousted Tunisian President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, Press TV reported.
France blocks ousted Ben Ali's accounts

The French government has called on the banks in the country to freeze accounts belonging to ousted Tunisian President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, Press TV reported.

Speaking in an interview with Europe1 radio on Monday, French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde said the banks have been asked to take the necessary steps to ensure "suspicious financial movements" concerning Tunisian assets in France are blocked administratively, Bloomberg reported.

The move come as two French rights groups, Sherpa and Transparency International France, are planning to file a lawsuit against Ben Ali on charges of corruption and embezzlement.

"The aim is to obtain the freezing of all Ben Ali family's assets in France and to avoid (sic) them being transferred to faraway locations," Sherpa spokeswoman Maude Perdriel-Vaissiere said.

French government's anti-money laundering body, Tracfin, has meanwhile been asked to watch out for movements of assets belonging to Ben Ali, his family or people closely connected to him.

France's leading newspaper Le Monde has reported that Ben Ali's wife, Leila Trabelsi, may have stolen 1.5 tons of gold bars from Tunisia's central bank before running away from the country.

On January 14, Ben Ali fled the North African country for the Saudi port city of Jeddah in the wake of a historic revolution that drove him from power after more than 23 years of iron-fisted rule.

Tunisia's interim Prime Minister Mohammed Ghannouchi on Monday announced the formation of a national unity government and vowed that the new government would work "towards democracy."

The new line-up includes several opposition figures while foreign, interior and defense ministers who served in Ben Ali's administration have retained their posts.

Massive anti-government protests broke out in Tunisia following the self-immolation of a 26-year-old fruit vendor. The man, identified as Muhammad Bouazizi, set himself on fire after police confiscated his merchandise.

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