Syrian tycoon Rami Makhlouf says assets were seized by the state

The cousin of Bashar al-Assad, quarreling with Syrian power since 2019, spoke again on Facebook on Tuesday to condemn the seizure of all his assets and his family by the Syrian telecommunications regulator.

New twist in the Rami Makhlouf affair. This cousin of President Bashar al-Assad, head of Syriatel, the largest mobile operator in Syria, announced on Facebook on May 19 that the state had ordered the seizure of all its assets. The administration really demands from this company payment of $ 185 million (160 million euros) in arrears.

The Syrian Telecommunications Authority “grabs my money, my wife and the kids’ money, even though his problems are with my company and not with me personally,” said the wealthy businessman, who has long been the main financial supporter of the Assad regime.

The 51-year-old tycoon, who also has interests in oil, electricity and real estate, said he was “prohibited from working with the state for five years”.

The Syrian Telecommunications and Postal Regulatory Authority on its part accused Syriatel of breaching its commitments and recently warned that it would take all legal action to recover “state rights” and “are legally” required by Syriatel and necessary to retain its license .

Sixty arrests

Rami Makhlouf’s brawl with power broke out in 2019, when he took control of his charity, Al-Boustan, before disbanding militias affiliated with him.

In December, the government froze the assets of several businessmen for tax evasion and illegal enrichment during the war, including Rami Makhlouf.

According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, nearly 60 employees – 40 working for Syriatel and 19 for the Al-Boustan Association – have been arrested by police since April.

With AFP