: نبيل القروي
; born 1 August 1963) is a Tunisian
politician and businessman. One of the key figures in the Tunisian media landscape, Karoui is CEO of Karoui & Karoui World and owner of the Tunisian television station Nessma
. Karoui ran as a candidate in the 2019 Tunisian presidential election
, finishing in second place.
Karoui began his career in marketing and sales at several multinational corporations. After working sales in Southern France
, he joined the sales and marketing team at Henkel
While there, he was approached by a recruiter to join the growing North Africa division of Canal+ Group
, where he served for two years.
In 1996, with his brother Ghazi, he founded his own communications agency KNRG.
This was followed in 2002 with the brothers founding Public relations
firm Karoui & Karoui World. The firm quickly grew, with offices across the Middle East and North Africa.
In parallel with his international public relations work, Karoui expanded his domestic business, creating subsidiaries around audiovisual
production, digital media, urban advertising and a record label.
In 2009, he became head of the company's television company, Nessma.
On 25 April 2019, equipment from Nessma studios was seized by the Independent High Authority for Audiovisual Communication, who said that the channel had been broadcasting without a license since 2014 and that the seizure was done "after several attempts to find a solution with the channel".
On 23 August, the Independent High Authority for Audiovisual Communication and the Independent High Authority for Elections
forbade Nessma from covering the 2019 Tunisian presidential election
After the revolution, Karoui changed the channel's programming from entertainment to news, becoming one of the country's leading sources for information.
During an interview with former politician and protégé of Habib Bourguiba
, Beji Caid Essebsi
, Essebsi was suggested as a possible Prime Minister of Tunisia
, a role Essebsi would take on in February 2011.
On 7 October 2011, the film Persepolis
was shown on the Tunisian private television station Nessma
. A day later, a demonstration formed and marched on the station. The main Islamic party in Tunisia, Ennahda
, condemned the showing of the film.
Nabil Karoui, the owner of Nessma TV, faced trial in Tunis on charges of "violating sacred values" and "disturbing the public order." He was found guilty and ordered to pay a fine of 2,400 dinars ($1,700; £1,000), a much more lenient punishment than predicted. Amnesty International
said that criminal proceedings against Karoui were an affront to freedom of expression.
Karoui has been praised by some for organizing a meeting in Paris
between Rached Ghannouchi
and Beji Caid Essebsi
, surprising observers and lowering tension between Islamist and secularist
supporters in the country.
Karoui would later accompany Essebsi on a trip to Algeria
, though some pundits criticized him for his ambition, impatience and intrigue.
While under investigation by the Independent High Authority for Audiovisual Communication in 2015 for his role in the Nidaa Tounes campaign, he worked with Hafedh Caid Essebsi, the son of the president, in Essebsi's campaign for leadership of Nidaa Tounes. After helping remove Mohsen Marzouk
from the internal leadership of the party, Karoui became a member of the party's executive board and left his position at Nessma.
Disagreements with Hafedh Caid Essebsi led to Karoui leaving the party in April 2017.
Presidential campaign and Heart of Tunisia
In June 2019, Karoui announced his candidacy for the 2019 Tunisian presidential election
, quickly pulling ahead of his opponents in opinion polling
On 18 June 2019, the parliament
passed amendments to the country's electoral law, accused by some[who?]
of blocking candidates like Karoui from being eligible to run in the election.
The amendments prohibited those with a criminal record, as well as those who ran charitable organizations or received foreign funding for political advertising in the year preceding an election, from standing for election.
On 25 June, members of Nidaa Tounes
and Popular Front
filed a motion in Parliament calling the move unconstitutional.
That same day, Karoui founded a new party called "Heart of Tunisia" (Au cœur de la Tunisie/Qalb Tounes
In July 2019, Heart of Tunisia presented its candidates for the 2019 Tunisian parliamentary election
in 33 electoral districts. The party's electoral list included eight women and twenty-five men, including former Nidaa Tounes
officials like Ridha Charfeddine
Despite Karoui's previous arrest, his candidacy was allowed to remain in place, as he has not yet been sentenced by the courts.
His party won the second-most seats behind Ennahdha
Coming in second place in the first round, he moved on to face Kaïs Saïed
in the second round, held in mid-October. He came in second place in the second round as well.
Opponents have been critical of Karoui's consolidation of the Tunisian media landscape
and the intentions of his charitable activities, often referring to him as the "Tunisian Berlusconi
In 2016, the NGO I-Watch accused Karoui of money laundering
through a foreign shell company
A 2017 recording leaked of Karoui attacking the organization, calling them "traitors", "foreign agents" and calling on his staff to file false reports against them.
On 8 July 2019, Karoui and his brother Ghazi were charged with money laundering around the 2016 allegations. Their assets were frozen and both were forbidden from leaving the country.
He was arrested on 23 August following a warrant by the Tunis Court of Appeal.
A communiqué from Nidaa Tounes
referred to the arrest as "Fascist practices".
However, Ari Ben-Menashe
's company, Dickens & Madson, alleged that it had lobbied a meeting for Karoui with US President Donald Trump
and Russian President Vladimir Putin
on 15 September, ahead of the first round of presidential polls. Later on, Karoui's lawyer confirmed that there is no connection between Karoui and that company.
On 9 October, he was released from prison, prior to the second round of presidential election.
On 24 December 2020, a Tunisian judge ordered the detention of Karoui on suspicion of financial corruption. The Tunis Afrique Presse
state news agency said Karoui was to face charges of tax evasion and money laundering.
Karoui had two children, a son and a daughter.
His son Khalil was killed on 21 August 2016 in a car accident near Gammarth
at the age 21. Karoui established the charity "Khalil Tounes" in memory of his son.
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Last edited on 28 February 2021, at 12:22
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