“The investigation into all European assets of these two former
presidents has started,” said the organisation’s spokesperson Joannes
“In addition to Europe, Canada and the United States are also involved
as possible locations of these assets,” he added.
Thuy said the investigation started after a meeting on Monday and
Tuesday between Eurojust, the European Union’s justice co-ordination
body, and Tunisian and Egyptian authorities in The Hague, where
Eurojust is based.
“Both Tunisia and Egypt explained the ex-presidents illegally
transferred a lot of money out of their countries and invested in bank
accounts and property all over Europe, even Canada and the United
States,” Thuy said.
“They asked us to co-ordinate the investigation, which we are now
facilitating and have put them in touch with various prosecutors in
different countries,” he added.
“Following a joint decision, a Europe-wide financial investigation was
launched to identify assets, freeze bank accounts and confiscate money
and properties,” Eurojust added in a press release.
Thuy could not say whether any assets have yet been recovered but
added it was believed to be running “into millions and millions” of
Mubarak is currently facing a murder trial before an Egyptian court
and may get the death sentence if found complicit in the killings of
some 850 people who died during 18 days of protest that ousted him
from power in February.
Ben Ali and his wife were forced into exile in Saudi Arabia earlier
during the “Arab Spring” revolt when he was overthrown in an
unprecedented popular uprising.
But earlier this month, liquidators of Ben Ali’s vast business empire
threatened to quit en masse over security concerns, the official TAP
news agency reported from Tunis.
Some 200-odd liquidators tasked with managing a myriad of firms owned
by Ben Ali and his entourage said they would walk out by year’s end if
attacks, both verbally and physically, did not stop. AFP