Tunisia (QNN)- Tunisian presidential candidate, Nabil Karoui contracted with a Canadian Mossad-related lobbying firm, owned by a former official in the Israeli army, reported Al-Monitor.
Documents published by the News Website triggered controversy, as it shows that the already jailed candidate payed for a foreign company owned by an Israeli official to make pressure on governments to support him during elections.
The website published a copy of the contract signed in August 19, 2019 and registered in the American Department of Justice.
Karoui’s newly formed Qalb Tounes (Heart of Tunisia) party is leading in the polls for Sunday’s legislative elections. The jailed businessman’s rivals are demanding that he be disqualified from a presidential runoff that is set to be held Oct. 13. One rival, the Democratic Current party, filed a criminal complaint with the public prosecutor on Thursday at the Tunis Court of First Instance, calling the contract with Canadian firm Dickens & Madson a criminal act.
Karoui’s opponents cite laws that forbid any foreign funding or support for Tunisians running for office. “The money didn’t come from Tunisia so it came from outside Tunisia, and that is against the law,” said Leila Chettaoui, a member of parliament for Prime Minister Youssef Chahed’s pro-secular Tahya Tounes party. “If it’s proven to be the case, Karoui must be disqualified.”
The contract aimed at arranging meetings with US President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin ahead of Tunisia’s first round of presidential polls on 15 September.
The four-page contract was signed by Ari Ben-Menashe, a Tehran-born former Israeli intelligence officer who founded Dickens & Madson, and Mohamed Bouderbala.
The Middle East Eye quoted Karoui’s lawyer denying any connection with Bouderbala: “We confirm that there is absolutely no connection between our candidate and this company or this man Bouderbala.”
The campaign said it had no idea about the contract and that Bouderbala has no relationship “either by far or close” with Karoui whose lawyers called Dickens & Madson on Thursday to share their concerns.