French intelligance claim Ben Ali fled Tunisia with 1.5 tonnes gold | world | Hindustan Times
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French intelligance claim Ben Ali fled Tunisia with 1.5 tonnes gold

world Updated: Jan 17, 2011 20:03 IST

AFP
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Relatives of ousted Tunisian leader, Zine El Abidine Ben Ali are thought to have fled the country with 1.5 tonnes in gold, Le Monde reported on Monday, citing French intelligence sources.

At Monday's prices, 1.5 tonnes in gold would fetch USD 65 million on the open market. According to Le Monde, President Nicolas Sarkozy's office has been briefed by French intelligence that Leila Trabelsi, Ben Ali's second wife, withdrew gold ingots from the Tunisian central bank last week.

The governor initially resisted her request, but backed down under pressure from Ben Ali himself, the report said.

Ben Ali and Leila have now fled Tunisia, under pressure from an unprecedented wave of street protests amid anger that their family is accused of looting the country's resources.