Turkey has frozen the assets of former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh, in line with a decision by the UN Security Council, the government said.
All of Saleh’s assets in Turkish banks and other financial institutions were frozen, the Official Gazette said on Thursday, but did not reveal the value of the assets Saleh was believed to hold in Turkey.
United Nations-appointed investigators told the Security Council that they suspected Saleh of amassing up to $60bn, equivalent to Yemen’s annual GDP, during his long rule. He is also suspected of colluding in a takeover by Houthi rebels in 2014.
Most of the former leader’s wealth was believed to have been transferred abroad under false names or the names of others holding the assets on his behalf, the investigators said.
The assets were in the form of property, cash, shares, gold and other valuable commodities, and were believed to be spread across at least 20 countries, they added.
Saleh, who is the head of Yemen’s largest party, the General People’s Congress, enjoys the loyalty of sections of the armed forces despite stepping down from office nearly four years ago after months of protests. He later emerged as an ally of the Iran-backed Houthi rebels.
Turkey is allied with Saudi Arabia in Yemen, where forces loyal to Yemen’s Saudi-backed President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi are fighting the Houthis.
The Security Council-imposed sanctions on Saleh in 2014, who was forced out in 2012 under a Gulf-sponsored deal.
Peace talks aimed at ending the conflict in Yemen had been due to begin in Kuwait on Thursday, but were delayed pending the arrival of rebel representatives.