Justice Ministry denies appointing Asma al-Assad's brother as receiver for Rami Makhlouf's money
Damascus - SMART
On Wednesday, the Syrian government's Ministry of Justice denied appointing Asma al-Assad's brother as a "receiver" for Rami Makhlouf's withheld funds.
The ministry said on Facebook that it did not issue any statement regarding the appointment of Firas Fawaz al-Akhras, brother of Asma al-Assad (Bashar al-Assad's wife), as a "receiver" on the movable and immovable property of Rami Makhlouf, his wife and children.
On May 19, 2020, the Syrian government seized the assets of businessman Rami Makhlouf, the cousin of President Bashar al-Assad, his wife and children.
On Tuesday night, Makhlouf accused parties affiliated with the Syrian government (he did not name them), of seeking to seize Syriatel Company, saying, "They want the company."
On May 2, 2020, the Syrian government's Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (SYTRA) responded to the businessman Rami Maklhouf, saying that the two mobile network providers, Syriatel and MTN, are required to pay 233.8 billion Syrian pounds. The SYTRA had informed the two companies to provide them with a final answer by May 5, 2020, to accept the negotiations about payment mechanism for “the primary licensing fees."
Rami Makhlouf founded the Mobile network provider company, Syriatel, in 2002, where he owned 10 percent of the shares, while 63 percent of owned by Drex Technologies S.A. which he founded in the British Virgin Islands. Makhlouf's fortune in 2012 was estimated at 6 billion US dollars (about 10 trillion SYP).
In April 2016, the Panama Papers revealed that the brothers Rami and Hafez Makhlouf took advantage of the kinship’s relationship with the President Bashar al-Assad for economic domination and intimidation of competitors. The two brothers were able to evade the economic sanctions by using the offshores’ system of commercial companies. Al-Assad relatives and people close to him control the economic activity and monopolize most of the natural resources in Syria.
The Syrian government is subject to sanctions by several countries and entities, including the European Union and the United States, whose sanctions include the freezing of bank accounts and the prohibition of dealing with institutions that support the Syrian government, in addition to sanctions on local and international companies and preventing exports from Syria or investing in Syria.