According to French newspapers, sources within the French security services suspect Leila Trabelsi, the president's wife, went to the Bank of Tunisia on Friday looking for gold bars.
When the governor refused to part with the bullion it is said the president made the call himself. It is suspected - though not confirmed - they might have escaped with 1.5 tonnes of gold, worth around 45m euros (£37.6m).
He fled when it became clear he had lost the support of the chief of staff and the army, who by that time were refusing orders to fire on the protesters.France, as usual, is calling for "calm" and trying to protect the interests of its officials with deep ties to the pockets of corrupt regimes in North Africa. Meanwhile some ***hole steals 45m euros of gold and holes up in a corrupt dictatorship called Saudi Arabia.
Here's to hoping for an open society coming out of the mess that is Tunisia. I'm guessing the relaxation of controls on Facebook and Twitter make that almost certain. Don't count on it snowballing into Algeria (too much religious fanaticism and history of violence that people aren't keen to repeat) or Egypt (not enough internet/education/media saturation) or Libya (same, plus a very heavy hand on top).