Tunisia recoups part of looted money deposited in Swiss banks
The Tunisian government has recovered a portion of money stolen by members of late President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali’s regime, deposited in Swiss banks, the North African country’s lawyer in charge of the State’s litigation has revealed declining to indicate the amount.
Ali Abbas told local media Assabah that the sums have been recovered after their owners have automatically waived them.
The Tunisian state since 2011 has launched legal actions against 13 people in the entourage of the former Tunisian leader ousted during the first Arab uprising.
The North African country has set up rogatory commissions in collaboration with international partners to monitor, track, freeze, confiscate and recover certain documents, bank accounts, property and cash, Abbas reportedly said.
Ben Ali fled Tunisia in 2011 for Saudi Arabia where he died in September 2019.
The Tunisian Association for Financial Transparency (ATTF), a small NGO, The Guardian reported in 2012, estimated the stolen money at about $17 billion (£11bn), including £41m hidden in Swiss banks.
In 2013, the United Nations’ Stolen Asset Recovery team returned $29 million to Tunisia. The money was held in a Lebanese bank account belonging to Laila Trabelsi, the wife of Ben Ali, BBC then reported.