Tunisia: state fills up coffers with Ben Ali's assets

Banks and dealers in 'treasure' of ex dictator's family

16 November, 18:10

Former Tunisian President Ben Ali sentenced in absence [ARCHIVE MATERIAL 20080730 ] Former Tunisian President Ben Ali sentenced in absence [ARCHIVE MATERIAL 20080730 ]

(ANSAmed) - Tunis, November 16 - Tunisia is about to boost state coffers after assets by the powerful clan of former dictator Zine el Abindine Ben Ali were confiscated.

A first tranche concerns 60% of the capital of Ennakl (the dealer in Tunisia of the most important German carmakers, from Volkswaghen to Porsche), 25% of mobile phone company Tunisiana, 13% of the shares of the Bank of Tunisia and 100% of the International school of Carthage.

Another operation concerns the shares of the dealer of Korean carmakers Kia, which will be divided up: 66.70% will be sold while 30.75% will go public with shares sold at the Tunis stock Exchange. This process, aimed at attracting foreign investors, should be completed by the end of 2012.

These procedures have been regulated by two decrees (one passed in March 2011 and the second in May the same year) regulating the complex management of the treasure - including homes and assets - seized to Ben Ali, his family, including wife Leila Trabelzi and her family, and his aides, the extent of which shocked the country in the wake of the fall of the former dictator.

The difficulties faced by state bureaucracy in managing the ex dictator's great wealth was expressed by Jamel Belhaj, the director general of the holding company to manage national assets CDC (Caisse de depots et Consignations). 'There is a category of companies which are neither prospering nor having difficulties but simply in full expansion which the government planned to entrust to a holding in charge of confiscations', he said, adding however that 'the state cannot be responsible fo these companies and guarantee their development'.

Some 30 companies seized - operating in tourism, agriculture and real estate - will be entrusted to the CDC so the state can sell part of their capital while remaining an owner. For each one of them the CDC will draft a specific plan.

(ANSAmed)

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