TUNIS (Reuters) - Tunisia’s interim authorities have seized a 51 percent stake in mobile phone operator Orange Tunisie belonging to the son-in-law of ousted leader Zine Al-Abidine Ben Ali, the TAP news agency said.
The majority stake in the operator was taken from Marwan Ben Mabrouk, the husband of Cyrine Ben Ali. He had owned it through the Investec investment vehicle. France Telecom owns the remaining 49 percent.
TAP said late on Wednesday that a court had at the end of February ruled that a judicial administrator be appointed for Investec, as Tunisia’s interim authorities move to freeze the assets belonging to Ben Ali’s family and about 100 people close to them.
The relevant decree, allowing the state to seize such assets, was published in the government’s official gazette this month.
“It is in this context that the decision to take 51 percent of Orange Tunisie was taken,” TAP said. A government spokesman was not immediately reachable for comment.
TAP said Adel Gaaloul, secretary of state for technology, had met with Orange Tunisie representatives and underlined it was important the company follow up on its investment programme.
Tunisia’s government awarded the country’s first third-generation mobile telecoms licence to Orange Tunisie in 2010.
Reporting by Tarek Amara; Editing by Will Waterman