Swiss to free $40m in Tunisia assets

GENEVA - Switzerland has decided to release US$40 million in Tunisian funds being held in Swiss banks.

Federal Prosecutor Michael Lauber told Swiss public radio SRF on Friday that the decision a result of good collaboration with Tunisian officials.

These are the first assets to be freed by Swiss authorities after they blocked around US$68.5 million from Tunisia following the ouster of President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali in January 2011.

The probe for the remaining US$28.5 million continues.

Ben Ali was forced to flee following a month of popular protests. His fall was the first among several in the Middle East, triggered by a revolutionary wave of uprisings dubbed the Arab Spring.

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