For sale: "A Lamborghini Gallardo LP 460, a Bentley Continental sports car, an armored Cadillac and a Maybach 62. Precious gold artifacts and silver jewelry. Rare artwork. Plus, treadmills and high-tech gadgets." Average Tunisians wandered the halls of Cleopatra Hotel in late 2012, browsing through 10,000 items demonstrating the impossible wealth accumulated by their longtime president, Zine el Abidine ben Ali, and 100 of his greedy relatives. The ministry of finance was hoping the auction would return a few more millions to the state, payback from the man who had controlled the nation with a heavy hand for decades. But, as one minister told the Telegraph: "To be clear, it's not an oil well" of revenue; Ben Ali reportedly was worth billions of dollars. Tunisians have vociferously faulted government incompetence in retaking public ownership of the banks and holding companies the strongman confiscated. Freezing his banking assets in Europe isn't enough. "I say poor Tunisia, it was controlled by a gang leader, not someone fit to lead a country," railed new Youth and Sport Minister Tarek Dhyab at the recent auction: "This is only 20% to 30% of (Ben Ali's) possessions." Let's hope the new leaders are fit enough to find some recompense for the people. Above: A home said to belong to the family of the late Adel Trabelsi, a relative of former Tunisian First Lady Leila Ben Ali.
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