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Tunisian billionaire who fled Canada ahead of 2016 deportation arrested in France

An elusive Tunisian billionaire who disappeared from Canada as he was set to be deported to his homeland in 2016 has resurfaced and is under arrest in France.

Belhassen Trabelsi had previously been granted permanent resident status in Canada

Belhassen Trabelsi arrived in Canada with his wife and children in 2011 as his brother-in-law, Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, was being deposed as president in Tunisia. (Radio-Canada)

An elusive Tunisian billionaire who disappeared from Canada as he was set to be deported to his homeland in 2016 has resurfaced and is under arrest in France.

Belhassen Trabelsi fell off the radar of Canadian authorities three years ago as he was to be returned to Tunisia to face justice.

The Tunisian government says after being informed of Trabelsi's arrest last week, it made clear to French officials that it wants Trabelsi returned home.

A short statement provided by the Tunisian Embassy in Canada says a letter to that effect was sent to France last week through diplomatic channels.

Trabelsi arrived in Canada with his wife and children in 2011 as his brother-in-law, Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, was being deposed as president by the Tunisian people.

Trabelsi had previously been granted permanent resident status in Canada, but that was stripped, and in 2015 his request for refugee status was rejected. He vanished while challenging an order sending him back to Tunisia.

Reports from France say Trabelsi, 56, is currently in a jail in Marseille.

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