France Seizes Booted Tunisia's Leader's Jet

EU freezes Ben Ali's assets
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 2, 2011 3:41 AM CST
Zine EL Abidine Ben Ali resigned and fled to Saudi Arabia with his wife Leila last month,   (AP Photo/Hassene Dridi, File)

(Newser) – Life isn't getting any easier for ousted Tunisian leader Zine El Abidine Ben Ali. French authorities seized a private jet believed to belong to the Ben Ali family yesterday after three organizations launched a legal case accusing the strongman of corruption, the BBC reports. European Union foreign ministers have agreed to freeze his assets.

The French organizations pursuing Ben Ali in court estimate that the leader and his associates amassed some $5 billion in assets during his 23 years in power. France's foreign minister—already under fire for her suggestion just days before Ben Ali's ouster that France could help train Tunisia's police to control the uprising—has admitted that she and her family accepted a flight last month on the private jet of a tycoon with close ties to Ben Ali's regime.

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