Ben Ali’s family flee with gold bars (Press TV)

Ousted Tunisian President Zine El Abidin Ben Ali and his wife Leila Trabelsi

The family of ousted Tunisian President Zine El Abidin Ben Ali has reportedly fled the country with 1.5 tons of gold worth more than 45 million euros.

Citing information received form the French secret services, the French newspaper, Le Monde, disclosed on Monday that Leila Trabelsi, the wife of the ousted president, took the gold bars out of the country before the collapse of Ben Ali’s regime.

Ben Ali’s 23-year rule ended on Friday after weeks of street protests all over the North African country.

“According to information gathered in Tunis, Leila Trabelsi, the president’s wife allegedly went to the Bank of Tunisia for gold bars. The director of the bank refused. Mrs. Ben Ali called her husband, who had also initially refused, but then agreed,” the newspaper said.

After receiving the gold bars, Treabelsi flew to Dubai before leaving for Jeddah in Saudi Arabia, the paper said.

“It seems that the wife of Ben Ali is the party who left with 1.5 tons of gold worth 45 million euros,” a senior French official told the daily.

Reports also confirmed that Trabelsi had been in Dubai for several days.

In the past weeks, there have been massive street protests across Tunisia against what has been described as the theft of Tunisian wealth and lack of opportunities for the average citizen.

Many of Ben Ali’s family members have left the African country for fear of personal safety.

On Saturday, a day after Ben Ali fled to Jeddah, luxury cars were smashed and shops and homes were looted and burned in the Tunisian capital, Tunis.

Ben Ali ruled Tunisia for more than two decades. His era was marred by repeated human rights violations and torture.

On Sunday, acting leaders in Tunisia discussed the composition of a unity government as post-revolution unrest continues to grip the North African country.

DB/TG/HRF

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