Ex-EIIC executive's Swiss assets frozen
Zurich, June 19, 2012
Millions of dollars of assets in Swiss bank accounts linked to a prominent Tunisian politician and businessman have been frozen, a Geneva prosecutor said, after allegations of embezzlement.
Khayam Turki, a leading member of Tunisia's left-wing Ettakatol party, was expected to become the north African country's finance minister after elections late last year following the ouster of former President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali.
But he declined to take up the post after Emirates International Investment Company (EIIC) raised mismanagement allegations against him relating to his time as a senior executive at the company. Swiss-based legal sources said the allegations involved the misappropriation of assets.
Geneva prosecutor Dario Zanni confirmed this week an investigation was under way, and that assets linked to Turki had been frozen while the inquiry took place, but declined to give further details.
Lawyers for EIIC declined to comment. Neither Turki nor Ettakatol could be reached by telephone for comment.
Turki resigned from EIIC in 2008, Tunisia's official TAP news agency reported. The unlisted company is the investment arm of Abu Dhabi-based business group National Holding.
EIIC is a majority shareholder in Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank , the largest Islamic lender in the United Arab Emirates capital.
Turki, who was educated in France and Tunisia, was finance director for Ettakatol's campaign in November's elections.
In February 2008, when he was director general of EIIC unit Societe des Parcs d'Alger, the investment company launched plans for a $5 billion park to give crowded Algerian capital Algiers a 'green belt' where stressed residents could unwind.
Turki told Reuters at the time that EIIC would use its own resources to finance Dounya Parc. The project was suspended after the Dubai real estate price collapse of 2008 hit property prices across the region, but work has now restarted, according to regional news service Zawya. - Reuters