Tunisia Central Bank Admits It Is Missing 1.5 Tons Of Gold

When we first reported on the rumored "confiscation" of 1.5 tons (or is that tonnes?) of gold by deposed Tunisian surging food inflation beneficiary Ben Ali we joked that the next WGC update of Tunisian gold assets would be strangely lower by 23%. Once again, the Onion reality sets in as we uncover we were right. Dow Jones reports that "Tunisia's central bank this week said it held about 5.3 tons, but dismissed reports that the family of ex-leader Zine El Abidine Ben Ali had withdrawn the gold, saying the bank vaults were "under draconian security measures." Um, yeah, that's just off by the amount that Ben Ali is now desperately trying to eat...

From Dow Jones:

Tunisia had 6.8 tons of gold in December, a level unchanged for at least a decade, according to a December online report issued by the World Gold Council, which is also in line with estimates issued by the International Monetary Fund in October.

The WGC regularly publishes global statistics on gold and is considered an authority on the sector.
According to French intelligence cited by French daily Le Monde, Ben Ali's wife Leila Trabelsi had gone to the bank to withdraw the gold. The governor initially resisted, but backed down under pressure from Ben Ali himself

French TV TF1 also reported that the gold was withdrawn in late December.

Ben Ali fled to Saudi Arabia last week amid an unprecedented wave of street protests against rising unemployment as well as his 23 years of iron-fisted rule and allegations of corruption against his family.

That's funny: also just as funny is that according to the WGC the US has 8,133.5 tonnes of gold. We wonder if we should apply the same 22% pro forma haircut on that number when adjusting for physical gold holdings long since moved to various armored safes in Wall Street's offshore villas located in non-extradition countries. But we jest. We would be satisfied with just learning how much Tungsten is currently located in Fort Knox.

h/t London Dude Trader