Tunisia seizes 234 vehicles of former regime

10 August 2011

Among the vehicles was a $1m car belonging to Ben Ali’s wife

The Tunisian government expropriation commission has seized 234 luxury vehicles owned by allies and family members of former president Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali.

The commission, operating under the Finance Minister, seized the vehicles and most of them were put into the care of the military until they can be sold or used.

Among the vehicles, was a $1m German-made car that was tailor-made for Ben Ali’s wife Leila Trabelsi. Ben Ali’s youngest daughter owned at least 10 of the cars.

The former president’s son-in-law Sakher el-Materi and Trabelsi’s brother Belhassen had significant hold over Tunisia’s automobile industry.

On 1 August, El-Materi was sentenced in absentia to 16 years in prison for corrupt property deals. His wife, Nesrine was sentenced to eight years on the same charges while Ben Ali was also sentenced in absentia to 16 years.

Ben Ali has previously been sentenced to 35 years in prison for embezzlement and the misuse of public funds (MEED 21:6:11).

Earlier in July, he was sentenced to 15 years in prison for possessing illegal drugs and weapons found at his palace in Carthage.

Ben Ali and his wife remain in Saudi Arabia after fleeing Tunisia on 14 January.

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