On 30 January 2015, the European Union extended asset freezes against forty-eight individuals currently subject to sanctions on Tunisia until 31 January 2016. The EU also amended the statement of reasons for listing three of these individuals.
The original reasons for listing the three individuals, Moncef Ben Mohamed Ben Rhouma Trabelsi, Mohamed Adel Ben Mohamed Ben Rehouma Trabelsi, and Faouzi Ben Haj Hamda Ben Haj Hassen Ben Ali, stated that they were being investigated on suspicion of money laundering. The amended reasons state that their activities are subject to judicial investigation for complicity in the misappropriation of public monies by the holder of a public office and in exerting wrongful influence over the holder of a public office. The amended reasons also state that the three men are now deceased.
On 19 January 2015 the UK Minister for Europe, David Lidington, explaining these measures to the European Scrutiny Committee, said that Tunisia had made “impressive progress in its transition to democracy”, but that “progress had been slow” in addressing the corruption of the previous regime. He went on to say that this is why he supports “the aspiration to extend the current restrictive measures to allow investigations into the alleged corruption of listed individuals to be completed and ensure that the structures and processes in Tunisia were in place to return misappropriated assets to their rightful owners”.
The UK Treasury’s notice detailing the EU amendments and updating the UK listings is here. A full list of EU sanctions currently in force against Tunisia can be found in the “sanctions in force” section of this blog.