Belhassen Trabelsi, brother-in-law of ousted President of Tunisia, Zine el Abidine Ben Ali, fled to Canada by boat after a successful Jasmine Revolution in 2011 ransacked Trabelsi's home. They have since found solace in Canadian hospitality. But such is about to change when a government's agency, authorised to review claims for refuge protection, made an unfavourable decision.

Almost two years after their bid, the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada handed down its decision ruling against the family. The Board found evidence sufficient to support the allegation that Trabelsi, during the regime of Ben Ali, accepted tremendous bribes to accelerate transactions between Tunisia and foreign corporations. The IRB decision exposed specific multinational companies that released more than 10 million Euro to Nevco, a Quebec-based shell company managed by Trabelsi's friend, whose name was not disclosed. With the exception of those corporations, no other companies and persons who allegedly participated in the corruption were revealed.

National Post reported that albeit Nevco assisted companies in Tunisia in its consultancy capacity, a foreign probe team said Nevco extended few services, if any. "[T]he true purpose of the transaction was to pay out bribes to those close to the Tunisian regime in order to obtain government contracts," Immigration and Refugee Board Member Haig Basmajian wrote regarding the Nevco transaction.

Basmajian said there were serious reasons to consider that grave non-political crimes, particularly relating to proceeds from fraud and laundering as well as fraud against the Tunisian government, were committed by Trabelsi. Trabelsi's participation in the corruption led by the toppled Ben Ali administration is a valid ground to disqualify Trabelsi from staying in Canada. Under Canada's Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, individuals who committed non-political crimes before entering the country are not eligible for any refugee protection.

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