Nabil Karoui, leader of a liberal party, which came second in the 2019 presidential election in Tunisia, was arrested Sunday in Algeria, along with his brother MP, Tunisian media announced.
According to Radio Mosaïque FM (private) on Sunday, Algerian border police arrested Mr. Karoui, leader of the Qalb Tounès party, and Ghazi Karoui, in the region of Tébessa, in northeastern Algeria.
A leader of the Qalb Tounès party, Osama Khélifi, told media on Monday that the party was waiting for “official information” from the Tunisian and Algerian authorities, who have not confirmed the arrest of the two brothers so far.
“We have not communicated with (Mr.) Karoui for a week,” said Khélifi.
The spokesman for the Tunisian court of Kasserine (central-west), Riadh Al-Nouioui, told AFP that “the authorities are investigating two people suspected of helping the Karoui brothers to flee” to Algeria.
Founder of the private Tunisian channel Nessma TV, which is partly owned by Silvio Berlusconi, former head of the Italian government, Mr. Karoui has been prosecuted since 2017 in a case of money laundering and tax fraud.
Arrested in 2019, he had spent more than a month in prison in the middle of the election campaign, which had led to fears of an instrumentalization of justice.
Released, he was arrested again last December and released in June, after six months of pre-trial detention.
Mr. Karoui, whose program for the presidential election was focused on anti-Islamism and the fight against poverty, was largely defeated by Kaïs Saïed, an academic new to politics, against a backdrop of rejection of the elites in power since the 2011 revolution.
At the end of July, Mr. Saied invoked the constitution to grant himself full powers, dismiss the head of government and suspend parliament.
Since the coup, arrests, travel bans and house arrest have been imposed on judges, members of parliament and businessmen, as part of an anti-corruption “purge” promised by Mr. Saied.