News24

Riches of ex-Tunisia first family

2011-01-21 09:33

Tunisia - The overthrow of Tunisian president Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali could have important financial repercussions because many of the country's biggest companies were owned or controlled by members of his family.

Tunisia's new leadership has said it will investigate those who accumulated vast wealth under Ben Ali. That opens the way for a possible redistribution of assets, and potential headaches for foreign partners.

State television reported on Wednesday that 33 members of Ben Ali's extended family had been arrested, and showed gold and jewellery it said had been found in their possession.

Here are members of Ben Ali's family and some of the assets linked to them. Tunisian analysts say many more are controlled by the family but the true ownership is masked by a web of front companies.

Sakher Materi

The husband of Ben Ali's daughter, he is Tunisia's most prominent businessman despite being only in his early 30s. His empire ranges from media to banking and telecoms. Now in Dubai, he has said he is ready to submit to any investigation by the new government. His business interests include:

* Ziytouna Bank, Tunisia's first Islamic bank, which started operating last year. Materi's Princesse Holdings contributed 51% of the $30m starting capital.

* He is chairperson of ENNAKL, a car retailer which sells the Volkswagen, Audi, Seat and Porsche brands. The firm listed 40% of its share capital on the Tunis and Casablanca stock exchanges last year.

* Materi's media interests include Assabah newspaper, Tunisia's biggest-circulation daily, and Islamic radio station Ziytouna FM.

* Princesse Holding owns a share in mobile telephone operator Tunisiana. In November last year, it joined Qatar Telecom's Kuwaiti unit Wataniya in a consortium to buy Orascom Telecom's 50% stake in the operator.

Belhassen Trabelsi

The brother of Ben Ali's wife, Leila, Belhassen Trebelsi's business interests include:

* A stake in Ciments de Carthage, a cement manufacturer, which listed shares on the Tunis bourse in 2010.

* Cactus, a television production house.

* The five-star Karthago Le Palace hotel, overlooking the Mediterranean Sea in Gammarth, an up market suburb of Tunis where many of the country's moneyed elite under Ben Ali have villas.

* He is a shareholder in radio station Mosaique FM.

Imed Trabelsi

The former first lady's nephew, media reports said he was killed in a knife attack last weekend. He was chairperson of a firm called Med Business Holding which is the local partner of French do-it-yourself chain Bricorama. The chain has a store on a five-hectare site on the outskirts of Tunis.

Cyrine Ben Ali

The daughter of the ousted president, Cyrine Ben Ali is chairperson of the Shems FM radio station, launched last year.

Marwan Ben Mabrouk

The husband of Cyrine Ben Ali, he runs conglomerate Groupe Mabrouk. The firm, through its vehicle Investec, is the Tunisian partner of France Telecom. France Telecom owns 49% of local mobile operator Orange Tunisie, with Investec owning the rest. Tunisia's government awarded the country's first third-generation mobile telecoms licence to Orange Tunisie in 2010.

Kais Ben Ali

Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali's nephew, he owns a number of depots for distributing alcoholic drinks. His opulent beachside mansion in the resort town of Hammamet was ransacked in violence following the president's departure.

Comments
  • Jack Kukard - 2011-01-21 13:46

    The very same is happening in S.A , zuma's / mandela's and Co

  • thizzaa - 2011-01-21 17:17

    maybe thats what made uncle BOB sick, it is coming to him soon, i fill sorry for the J Moyo and them

  • Para-gun - 2011-01-21 18:24

    1 Tunisia The Ben Ali family and friends. 2 Congo The Kabila family and friend. 3 Lybia Gadaffi family and friends. 4 Zimbabwe Mugabe family and friends. 5 Swaziland Maswati family and friends. 6 South Africa Zuma/ Mandela families and friend and on and on we can go and then we are told do not be negative about this country of ours. Why do these people not come out in the bigging and say we are here for the money and the power

  • Stan - 2011-01-24 13:38

    Very interesting indeed. in Tunis, the ruling elite own the business, while in Zimbabwe ZANU PF own both the country and the business. That is how Africa is ruled.

      sbunkambule1 - 2011-01-26 17:03

      Point of correction, this is how the world is ruled!From Europe to America to Asia its the same. Its not just about Africa!

  • kznsc - 2011-01-25 09:04

    The people in goverment "so called,in power" should not be allowed to TAKE the wealth of a country for themselves. Confiscate all the wealth of the country and write it into the constitution of that Country so the PEOPLE can bennifit and NOT those in power or their families.

  • Johann - 2011-01-26 12:38

    Sounds like the ANC Government!

  • wgibsonsa - 2011-01-26 15:02

    Sound like SA. Zuma and his extended family are slowly taking over. Remember that all of Zumas kids will need to be employed one day, so daddy must make sure that he controls everything so they can all look like Khulubuse Zuma who has not paid his workers in months. They all believe that they are entitled to the countries wealth and stuff the rest.

  • pages:
  • 1