A Swiss lawyer officially filed a legal maneuver asking the government to freeze any assets held by Tunisia's former president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali in Swiss banks, on the heels of a similar request by the Swiss Socialist Party.

A spokesman for the Swiss government responded that it was monitoring the affair but has not yet taken a decision on the matter.

Tunisian groups across Switzerland have also called for a freeze of Ben Ali’s assets.

The attorney, Ridha Ajmi, has also asked for international arrest warrants against Ben Ali, his wife Leila Trabelsi and former interior minister Rafik Bel Hadji Kacem, alleging that they had ordered Tunisian police to shoot at protesters.

Ajmi, who is of Tunisian origin, said he was representing about 30 plaintiffs.

We are asking for a criminal inquiry to determine whether or not funds that belong to the Tunisian people have been diverted ... to private accounts or companies, he said.

Separately, according to France’s Le Monde newspaper, Trabelsi, the former President’s wife, instructed the governor of Tunisia’s central bank to give me gold bars valued at 38-million pound sterling, which she subsequently spirited away to Dubai when she fled the country.