‘Ben Ali’s wife picked up 1.5 tonnes of gold before fleeing’By DPA, IANS
Monday, January 17, 2011
PARIS - The wife of ousted Tunisian president Zine el-Abidine ben Ali collected 1.5 tonnes of gold from the central bank before fleeing the country, the French newspaper Le Monde reported Monday.
Leila Trabelsi visited the bank in Tunis and is thought to have taken the gold bars worth some $60 million along when departing on board a plane bound for Dubai, according to the report.
The head of the bank had reportedly not wanted to hand over the gold at first, but after the 53-year-old contacted her husband telephonically, she was given the gold bars.
The 74-year-old longtime president had initially also resisted instructing the bank to do so, Le Monde said.
Ben Ali’s second wife and her relatives have a reputation for being money and power hungry. The Trabelsi clan is regarded as corrupt and widely believed to be involved in racketeering.
After Ben Ali was ousted Friday, angry Tunisians looted the couple’s villa in a posh suburb of the capital Tunis.
Imed Trabelsi, a businessman and nephew of the president’s wife who for many was a symbol of corruption, was stabbed to death.