FILE PHOTO: Nabil Karoui, businessman and owner of the private channel Nessma TV, submits his candidacy for the presidential election in Tunis, Tunisia, August 2, 2019. Picture taken August 2, 2019. REUTERS/Zoubeir Souissi
TUNIS (Reuters) – A judge ordered on Friday the detention of Tunisian presidential election candidate Nabil Karoui to face charges of tax evasion and money laundering, Mosaique FM radio reported.
Karoui’s own Nessma TV channel reported he had been arrested as he traveled to Tunis.
The 56-year-old media magnate is one of the main candidates contesting the Sept 15 election following the death of President Beji Caid Essebsi.
A judge decided in July this year to bar Karoui from traveling abroad after weeks of investigation on suspicion of money laundering.
“The police arrested Karoui while we were on our way back from the city of Beja to Tunis,” said Osama Khelifi, a political adviser to the candidate.
Judicial authorities were not immediately available for comment.
The election follows the death of Essebsi last month aged 92. Esebsi was the first head of state to be democratically elected in Tunisia following the popular uprising of 2011.
Tunisia’s election commission has approved 26 candidates, including two women. They also include Prime Minister Youssef Chahed and former president Moncef Marzouki.
Tunisia’s president controls foreign and defense policy, governing alongside a prime minister chosen by parliament who has authority over domestic affairs.
Reporting By Tarek Amara; Editing by Gareth Jones