Montreal: Relatives of Tunisia`s ousted
president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali have arrived in Canada, a
government official in Ottawa said.
One of Ben Ali`s many brothers-in-law arrived in
Montreal yesterday aboard a private jet accompanied by his
wife, their children and a governess, the official said,
confirming a report by the website of Le Journal de Quebec.
Ben Ali`s wife Leila Trabelsi has several brothers,
and neither source specified which one had arrived in Canada.
The family had reportedly checked into a hotel in
Ben Ali fled to Saudi Arabia earlier this month after
weeks of violent protests against his iron-fisted 23-year
The protests were in part fuelled by widespread
allegations of corruption and reports that Ben Ali`s family,
particularly his wife`s relatives, had gorged itself on state
funds at a time of economic hardship.
The deposed president`s daughter Nesrine Ben Ali and
her husband, businessman Sakher El Materi, purchased a USD
2.5-million villa in the upscale Westmount neighbourhood of
Montreal two years ago.
The house is currently uninhabited and partially under
On Thursday Tunisian authorities arrested 33 members
of Ben Ali`s family who were under investigation for
plundering the nation`s resources.
The European Union has agreed in principle to freeze
the assets of Ben Ali and his family, a source in Brussels
told AFP earlier this week, though the final details were
still to be worked out.
The EU was awaiting a list from the new Tunisian
authorities of those to be targeted by the sanctions, the
diplomat said, and the decision would have to be formally
approved by EU ambassadors and foreign ministers.
The Swiss government had earlier ordered a freeze on
any funds held by Ben Ali in a move aimed at helping the
country`s new authorities to retrieve public assets illicitly
taken from the country.