Tunisian and Egyptian regulators freeze securities trading pending investigation

Tunisian financial authorities have ordered stockbrokers not to allow 123 companies to buy or sell securities. A report by Reuters says that there is a confidential list issued by regulator Conseil de Marche Financier, which is trying to investigate the extensive holdings of President Zine Al-Abidine Ben Ali’s extended family.
The list is mostly privately held Tunisian companies. It includes the parent companies of 2 listed Tunisian firms, BINA Corporation, majority shareholder of Carthage Cement as well as Princesse Holding which holds stakes in Ennakl Auto and Bank Ziytouna, as well as Dubai’s Shuaa Capital. Another holding company on the list is Tunisia’s Investec which is controlled by Marwan Ben Mabrouk, son-in-law of Ben Ali, and owns a stake in mobile operator Orange Tunisie. On 31 March the interim government seized Ben Mabrouk’s 51% stake.
A stockbroker told Reuters: “We were told not to let these companies invest or withdraw money from their trading accounts. Their accounts are frozen.”
A spokersperson for Shuaa Capital, an investment bank listed in Dubai, said: “Shuaa Capital has no past or current dealings with the former president of Tunisia.”
The interim government recently said it would freeze assets of 112 people close to the ousted president pending the completion of investigations into corruption.
Egypt is also seeking to investigate businesspeople who benefitted from links to Mubarak’s regime, and many people’s assets have been frozen there too.

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