Three organisations filed a complaint with the French public prosecutor in Paris to freeze assets held in France by the Ben Ali and Trabelsi families and prevent their flight, because measures taken by the French government are insufficient.
The Arab Commission for Human Rights, SHERPA and Transparence International France (TI France) today filed a complaint with the French public prosecutor (Procureur de la République) against several members of Ben Ali and Trabelsi families. The objective is the opening of a judiciary inquiry into the assets they own in France, which could have come from the embezzlement of public funds.
The measures taken so far by the French government through its anti-laundering body TRACFIN are insufficient to prevent the transfer of these assets. Only a legal order freezing such assets can guarantee that they are rapidly returned to Tunisian people. It is urgent to act now.
“More than ever, the Tunisian people need a real policy of sustainable development. For that to happen, any money that could have been stolen by the Ben Ali and Trabelsi families must be returned to the people so they can build their future with civil and economic right,” said Haytham Manna, spokesperson for the Arab Commission for Human Rights.
Various news sources are reporting that former president Ben Ali may own a building in Paris worth an estimated at €37 million (US$ 50 million), as well as assets in several French banks. The Trabelsi family could have several millions of Euro in French bank accounts, properties in Paris and in the Ile-de-France region around Paris, a chalet in Courchevel in the Alps and properties on the Côte d'Azur. Corruption inside Ben Ali’s regime has also been revealed with the recent revelation by Wikileaks of a diplomatic cable from the US embassy in Tunis.
Restitution to populations that are victim of asset embezzlement by corrupt leaders is a priority for Sherpa and TI France. The two organisations are already engaged in the “stolen assets case” targeting the French assets of three African heads of state: Denis Sassou Nguesso (Congo-Brazzaville), Omar Bongo Ondimba (Gabon, now deceased), and Téodoro Obiang Mbasogo (Equatorial Guinea).
For any press enquiries please contact
Myriam Savy et Daniel Lebègue
Transparence International France
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Commission arabe des droits humains
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