15 February 2011

Tunisia: Alliot-Marie's Parents Bought Company From Ben Ali Associate

The parents of French Foreign Minister Michèle Alliot-Marie bought shares in a property company owned by an associate of ousted Tunisian President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali while protests were going on in Tunisia, according to French newspaper Le Canard Enchaîné.

Alliot-Marie's parents accompanied her in December on a holiday to Tunisia. The foreign minister faced calls to resign two weeks ago when it emerged she had borrowed a jet from businessman Aziz Miled, who was close to Ben Ali's brother-in-law.

According to Le Canard Enchaîné, Bernard Marie and his wife Renée, aged 94 and 92, were already minor share-holders in Miled's company, holding some 13 per cent. But on 30 December at the Sentido Beach Hotel in Tabarka, Miled and his son Karim sold them the rest of the company.

Michèle Alliot-Marie was in the hotel at the time, according to the newspaper.

"The possible business transactions of her parents have nothing to do with Michèle Alliot-Marie and she is not obliged to comment on them," her spokesman told French press agency AFP.

The value of the transaction is unknown.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy said last week that his ministers should stick to France for their holidays to avoid gaffes, after it emerged that Prime Minister François Fillon had accepted a free holiday from ousted Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.

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