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Tunisia auctions Ben Alis abandoned fortunes

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Tunisia’s finance ministery displayed the abandoned fortune of ousted president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali and his family in a public auction on Saturday at the Cleopatra Space in Gammarth, located in the northern side of the country.

The auction was launched by Prime Minister Hamadi Jebali and is scheduled to take place for a month, as more than 10,000 items were collected for bidding at the hotel. Some of the items auctioned include luxurious house furniture, paintings, a pan of Ben Ali’s cars placed in the showroom, electronics, as well as the First Lady’s astonishing jewelry.

Participants from different nationalities attended the auction. The doors were open to the public, unlike the previous auctions, by purchasing a $20-ticket, which will allow the access to enter the expensive land of the overthrown Ben Ali’s impounded assets. Items displayed at the month-long auction were collected from his Sidi Dhrif palace, one of the many presidential palaces he owned around the country during his reign.

Although the public disapproves of the government’s speed to recover and sell all of Ben Ali’s possessions, Tunisian Deputy Finance Minister Slim Besbes said during a press conference early December that it took the ministry eight months to determine the prices of the displayed items.

Profit made through the auctions, which is expected to be more $30 million, will be added to the previous auctions’ profit of $478 million, which is used towards recovering the country’s economy.

The toppled president fled the country with his family on Jan. 14, 2011 after the public rose against him and asked for his removal from power, which he held since 1987. Ben Ali sought shelter in Saudi Arabia, as he’s been given a life imprisonment for crimes committed towards civilians.

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