ISTANBUL (Reuters) - Turkey has frozen the assets of former Yemeni president Ali Abdullah Saleh, in line with a decision by the U.N. Security Council, the government said in its Official Gazette on Thursday.
All of Saleh’s assets in Turkish banks and other financial institutions were frozen, it said. It did not say how much money Saleh was believed to hold in Turkey.
U.N.-appointed investigators have told the Security Council they suspect Saleh of amassing as much as $60 billion, equivalent to Yemen’s annual GDP, during his long rule, and colluding in a takeover by the Houthi militia in 2014.
Most of this wealth was believed to have been transferred abroad under false names or the names of others holding the assets on his behalf, the investigators have said.
The assets were in the form of property, cash, shares, gold and other valuable commodities, and were believed to spread across at least 20 countries.
Saleh, who is head of Yemen’s largest party, the General People’s Congress, enjoys the loyalty of sections of the armed forces despite having stepped down from office nearly four years ago after months of protests. He later emerged as ally of the Iran-backed Houthi Shi‘ite fighters.
Majority Sunni Turkey is allied with Saudi Arabia in Yemen, where forces loyal to Yemen’s Saudi-backed president are fighting the Houthis.
Reporting by Ceyda Caglayan, Writing by Seda Sezer; Editing by David Dolan and Raissa Kasolowsky