BEIRUT: Lebanon’s Court of Cassation rejected Friday a request from Tunisia to confiscate funds in the Lebanese account of ousted president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali’s wife.
Headed by Judge Jean Eid, the court rejected the Justice Ministry’s request to execute a judicial decision taken by Tunisia’s Magistrates Court to confiscate the money belonging to Laila Trabelsi. The request sought to transfer the funds to the Central Bank in Tunisia.
The request was sent by Ali bin Fetais al-Marri who was appointed by the United Nations to head efforts to recover money from leaders overthrown during Arab uprisings. He is also Qatar’s attorney-general.
Trabelsi’s money was in a Lebanese-Canadian bank account which was closed down in 2011, making the Lebanese government responsible for it.
The Lebanese court justified its refusal, saying the Tunisian Magistrates Court intentionally gave a nonexistent address in Beirut’s Cornish al-Mazraa, saying it belonged to Trabelsi.
It added that the judicial request lacked legal conditions and that the decision itself “violated Lebanese procedures and Lebanese sovereignty.”
The court asked the Tunisian Justice Ministry to provide an accurate address within five days of receiving its notice or else it would be fined LL1 million per day if the deadline was not met.
Last year, Tunisia acquired $28.8 million from Trabelsi’s bank account in Lebanon.