Tunisia's former ruler has denied accusations he fled the country and says he was "tricked" into leaving.
A statement released by Zine El Abidine Ben Ali's Lebanese attorney says the ousted leader boarded a plane to Saudi Arabia after he was advised by his security chief of an assassination plot against him.
He says he planned to return on the same flight after dropping off his family but the plane's pilot disobeyed orders and took off without him.
The statement was made available to The Associated Press in Beirut on Tuesday.
Ben Ali and his wife were convicted in absentia in Tunisia on Monday on embezzlement and other charges after $27 million (euro18.97 million) in jewels and public funds were found in one of his palaces.