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Leading presidential contender arrested in Tunisia

August 23, 2019
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FILE - In this Jan.23 2012 file photo, the owner of the Tunisian private channel Nessma TV, Nabil Karoui, center, leaves the Tunis courthouse after attending his trial. A leading presidential candidate in Tunisia, Nabil Karoui, co-owner of a private TV station, has been arrested and jailed in a case involving alleged tax evasion and money laundering. (AP Photo/Hassene Dridi, File)
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FILE - In this Jan.23 2012 file photo, the owner of the Tunisian private channel Nessma TV, Nabil Karoui, center, leaves the Tunis courthouse after attending his trial. A leading presidential candidate in Tunisia, Nabil Karoui, co-owner of a private TV station, has been arrested and jailed in a case involving alleged tax evasion and money laundering. (AP Photo/Hassene Dridi, File)

TUNIS, Tunisia (AP) — A leading presidential candidate in Tunisia has been arrested and jailed on allegations of tax evasion and money laundering.

Media mogul Nabil Karoui’s Nessma television station announced the Friday arrest, along with Tunisia’s Interior Ministry. Karoui was detained in the northwestern town of Beja while campaigning and was taken to a prison near Tunis.

The candidate recently appeared twice before financial prosecutors who froze his funds and forbid him and his brother Ghazi from traveling abroad.

Karoui has been a strong challenger to Prime Minister Youssef Chahed heading into the Sept. 15 presidential election, which has 26 candidates. The ballot was called after the July 25 death of 92-year-old Beji Caid Essebsi, who was the North African nation’s first democratically elected president.

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