Ben Ali family members arrive in Canada
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Last Updated: Sunday, January 23, 2011, 18:53
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 Montreal.

Ben Ali fled to Saudi Arabia earlier this month after weeks of violent protests against his iron-fisted 23-year rule.

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 construction.

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.


First Published: Sunday, January 23, 2011, 18:53

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