Since the overthrow of the regime of the late Tunisian President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, who fled following popular protests in 2011, his family members have dispersed in a number of countries and lived, with the wealth they had accumulated over the years, far from the limelight.
The family used to control 21 percent of the country’s economy, according to a 2014 World Bank report.
Members of the Ben Ali family have died, while others are being pursued by the judiciary, without yet reaching reparation for the damage they inflicted on large economic sectors and families who were victims of their arrogance.
Ben Ali’s wife and two brothers
Leila Trabelsi, 64-year-old wife of Ben Ali, whom most Tunisians call “the barber,” still lives in Jeddah with her only son Muhammad and her daughter Nisreen. She is one of the Tunisians’ most hated faces of the Ben Ali regime and is pursued in a number of cases.
Her two brothers, Imad and Belhassen al-Trabelsi, are accused of having made enormous wealth by seizing national property in Tunisia, which enabled the “Trabelsia” family to establish an empire that acquires public real estate, distribution routes, telecommunications and media companies, and (agencies) selling cars.
Belhassen, 58, is considered the “godfather” of the family and the richest businessmen. He fled on a yacht to Italy on January 14, then moved to Canada, where he lived in an apartment in a building in Montreal until 2016 when the authorities refused to grant him asylum, and later left the country. .
Belhassen submitted to the Truth and Dignity Commission, which was formed to look into the file of transitional justice in Tunisia (1955-2013), a reconciliation request in return for returning a sum of money estimated at one billion dinars (about 350 million euros), but the reconciliation was not completed.
In March 2019, the French authorities arrested him in the south of the country after 3 years of fleeing in a money laundering case, and the French judiciary is currently considering a request submitted by the Tunisian authorities to return Belhasen, who faces 33 years in absentia imprisonment in his country with suspicious money files.
As for Imad Trabelsi (46 years), the most famous in Tunisian circles, he has been imprisoned in Tunisia since 2011.
He was arrested at the airport on the day Ben Ali fell, on January 14, 2011, while he was on his way with several members of his family to France.
Imad is considered the only prominent figure in the Ben Ali family who was sued and sentenced to penalties of up to 100 years in prison.
Besides Layla, there are two other brothers who were not known much, they are Moncef Trabelsi, who died in prison of brain cancer in 2013 at the age of 63, and Murad, who suffered from many diseases before dying in April 2020 due to the negligence he suffered in prison, according to the family.
Sakher El-Materi (39 years) – who is free from Nasreen Ben Ali – is known as Ben Ali’s “favorite son-in-law” and his wife, and he went to Seychelles at the end of 2012. The organization “I Watch” – which specializes in following up on corruption files in Tunisia – suggests that he obtained Seychelles citizenship.
El-Materi entered into negotiations in 2017 with the Truth and Dignity Commission in an attempt to reach a reconciliation agreement that would guarantee him a safe return to Tunisia in exchange for transferring 500 million dinars as compensation to the state.
In June 2011, the French authorities arrested his father, Moncef El Materi, who was subject to judicial control according to an international summons issued by the Tunisian judiciary in 2011, and the French judiciary refused to hand him over to Tunisia.
As for Marwan Al-Mabrouk – who is free from Serene – Karima Ben Ali from his first marriage, a businessman who rarely spoke to the media.
With his brothers, he runs the largest shopping malls in the country, and they have a group of companies that sell food and cars and several banks, and the judiciary has frozen some of his properties since 2011.
In 2019, he managed to recover some of them, including a stake in the French telecommunications company, Orange, after the European Union lifted sanctions on it, and the company later recovered this share.
Finally, Salim Chiboub (61 years old) was one of the faces of the Ben Ali regime closest to people because he ran the largest sports club in the country, “Esperance Sports”, and he was married to Dursaf, the daughter of Ben Ali from his first marriage. He is arrested today.