Tunisian media mogul and politician arrested on corruption charge

Nabil Karoui was arrested last year but released during presidential election in which he was a candidate

FILE PHOTO: Tunisia's presidential candidate Nabil Karoui gestures before a televised debate with his opponent Kais Saied (not pictured) ahead of Sunday's second-round runoff electionin Tunis, Tunisia October 11, 2019. REUTERS / Zoubeir Souissi/File Photo

A judge ordered the detention of Tunisian media mogul Nabil Karoui on Thursday on suspicion of financial corruption, a spokesman for the judicial court said.

Mr Karoui is the leader of the Heart of Tunisia party, the second-largest party in parliament, and has previously run for president. His party is one of three that support the technocratic government in parliament.

Mr Karoui's aides and party officials were not immediately available to comment.

TAP state news agency said Mr Karoui was to face charges of tax evasion and money laundering.

Mr Karoui was arrested in August 2019 but released a few months later on October 9, in the middle of the election, although investigations into his case continued.

Last year, Mr Karoui said he was confident of his innocence and that his political opponents, specifically the Islamist Ennahda Party, were behind his imprisonment. Mr Karoui is now an Ennahda ally in parliament.