Tunisia seizes first Islamic bank from ex-leader's family

Tunisia's new leadership has said it will investigate those people who accumulated vast wealth under Ben Ali.

Tunisia seizes first Islamic bank from ex-leader's family

A bank owned by the son-in-law of deposed Tunisian leader Zine al-Abdine Ben Ali has been placed under the control of the central bank, Tunisian state TV said on Thursday.

Ziytouna Bank, Tunisia's first Islamic bank, started operating last year. It is owned by Sakher Materi, Tunisia's most prominent businessman. Materi's Princesse Holding contributed 51 percent of the $30 million starting capital.

"Ziytouna Bank has been placed under the supervision and monitoring of the central bank," the television reported.

The move comes a day after 33 of Ben Ali's clan were arrested for crimes against the nation. State television showed what it said was seized gold and jewellery. Switzerland has also frozen Ben Ali's family assets.

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

Now in Dubai, Materi has said he is ready to submit to any investigation by the new government.

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 percent stake in the operator.

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


Reuters

Last Mod: 20 Ocak 2011, 11:58
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