Monday, January 17, 2011


Wikileaks: Predators Clan Ben Ali seen by U.S. diplomats

LEMONDE| 17.01.11 | 2:54 p.m. • Updated 17.01.11 | 8:36 p.m.

Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali et sa femme Leila en 2004.
Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali et Leila on femme en 2004. AFP / HO

A joke circulating in Tunis before the fall of the regime: one day, President Ben Ali was driving at the wheel of his car in the streets of the capital, alone and without a bodyguard. At a red light, a policeman stops him. Ben Ali said he called Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali and he is the President of the Republic. "Never heard of you , "retorted the man in uniform, before driving to the police station . The head of the post is there. It examines the papers of Ben Ali and gave him once saying: "It's OK for him. Trabelsi is a parent of."

The anecdote is reported in a telegram from the U.S. Embassy in Tunisia and obtained by Wikileaks revealed by Le Monde . Commentary diplomat who wrote: "The joke underscores what many feel today (in 2009): compared to the strength and depth of the stranglehold Trabelsi of Tunisia, Ben Ali is inconsistent. "
Judgement is probably excessive. To read the "memo" extensive and detailed, American diplomats based in Tunis, the capital, predation was not the prerogative of the family of the wife of the deposed head of state, Leila Trabelsi . Clan Ben Ali was also involved in looting. But on a smaller scale.
The two families had shared the territory, says a telegram to Trabelsi Region Greater Tunis , the richest country in Ben Ali clan's home region of the former president, the coastal area of the center. It should be a clan or another, "supported by Trabelsi" or "supported by the Ben Ali" . Impossible to rely on two families.
In a long telegram, a diplomat has carefully identified the property of members of both clans. Ben Ali in the family, Hayet, a sister of the former president, based in Germany, owns several hotels and buildings in the area of Sousse. She stowed away her three children: one was environment minister, the second presidential adviser, the third largest importer of cars. A brother of President Ben Ali, Slaheddine, Kais associated with his son, but was also an importer of second hand clothes and junk. "They say they are behind the smuggling of alcohol , "the" memo ". They also owned a real estate firm and the Adam Park , an amusement park is also located in the center of the country.
Tijani, another brother, was president of the Minerva property company and main shareholder of Aero-Travel, an airport services company.
Two other sisters of the former president was also in business: Naima, on the market for luxury cars, and Najeeb, whose holding company, founded with her husband and their two children, focused on import-export (El-company Almana), furnishings (furniture, modular group Meublatex, Panabois, Profilex, Mattress ...), the hotel (Hotel Chain), the airline Karthago and communications (DETERNET).
The influence of another clan, the Trabelsi, on the national economy is even more impressive. It is partly due to the many brothers and sisters Leila Trabelsi, the wife of the president: ten identified in a cable, including seven very active, also Hajja Nana , "Dean" , the mother of Leila Trabelsi.
Trabelsi in the clan, or almost everyone is a predator, but the figurehead of the clan is undoubtedly Belhassen. "Belhassen embodies everything that Tunisians hate among Trabelsi" , provides a telegram.
The man does nothing to attract sympathy. At the wheel of powerful cars (Porsche Cayenne, Bentley, Hummer), it runs at breakneck speed through the streets of the capital in defiance of all rules. In restaurants, says the diplomat, he does not hesitate to drop the gun on the table he had on him.
Identifying the interests of the brother of Leila Trabelsi is a list of significant share of the economic fabric of Tunisia. His interests are varied, ranging from air transport (Karthago Airlines) Telecommunications (Global Networking Telecom ), through the assembly of trucks and tractors (Alpha International Ford ), coach (Alpha Bus Tunisia ), tourism (at least seven companies), real estate ... The list is endless.
"Belhassen has no qualms in business. All means are good to him" , writes the same diplomat. To continue working, the firm Citroën will be forced to pay a sort of ransom to Belhassen Trabelsi . In the eyes of Mr. Ben Ali, his brother was a "successful businessman" he appreciated the qualities.
Jean-Pierre Tuquoi

President Ben Ali A under the influence of his wife

Widow of Yasser Arafat, the late president of the Palestinian Authority, Suha Arafat was an intimate of the wife of Mr. Ben Ali, Leila Trabelsi. The two women were also involved in business. Until their sudden failure - and unexplained - in the summer of 2007.
A diplomatic cable, dated November 2007 is the portrait of Ben Ali and his entourage seen by Suha Arafat. "The president is weakened by his battle against cancer. (He) spent most of his time playing with his son that it wanders around the residence (presidential); he did what his wife tells him to do. Leila Ben Ali and his family steal anything that has value in the country (she) believes it will succeed her husband as president. The members of the extended family of Ben Ali could get away with anything with impunity, including the falsification of documents. " In another document, a diplomat noted: "Leila Ben Ali is the most hated person of country. "

Browse through the diplomatic memos

The and linkfluence offer a consultation tool of U.S. diplomatic memo obtained by Wikileaks. Prior to publication, these memos were selected and edited by the editors of the World, The Guardian, El Pais, Der Spiegel and The New York Times. You can find all the articles in Le Monde on the WikiLeaks documents by visiting our special sequence .

The operation Wikileaks

Le Monde published since November 28, over 120 articles on diplomatic telegrams from the U.S. State Department. Of the 251 287 cables obtained by Wikileaks and studied exclusively by five newspapers - The New York Times, United States, The Guardian UK, Der Spiegel in Germany, El Pais in Spain and Le Monde in France -, 1897 have been published to date in support of articles. You can read the summary published revelations.