Leila and her 10 siblings are said to have operated like a mafia, extorting money from shop owners, demanding a stake in businesses large and small, and divvying up plum concessions among themselves.
Their control over the North African country's economy was vast. The Trabelsi and Ben Ali's own families were said to have a stake in Tunisian banks and airlines, car dealerships, Internet providers, radio and television stations, industry and big retailers. And when mass protests forced Ben Ali to flee on Friday to Saudi Arabia, his peoples' pent-up rage was directed more at Leila's side of the family than at her husband and his authoritarian regime.
Text & Images: AP
In Images: Leila Ben Ali, wife of Tunisian President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, attends the opening session of the 3rd Congress of the Arab Women's Organisation in Tunis.