Syrian dictator’s uncle sentenced to prison, and $101M in European real estate is seized

The exiled uncle of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad amassed a real estate portfolio in England and France, using state funds

New York Weekend Edition /
Jun.June 20, 2020 02:00 PM
Rifaat al-Assad (Wikipedia Commons)

Rifaat al-Assad (Wikipedia Commons)

It could be the end of the road for Rifaat al-Assad, the exiled uncle of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

The 82-year-old was convicted in France for illegally amassing a real estate portfolio worth $101 million using money he embezzled from the Syrian state, according to Bloomberg.

A French court sentenced Al-Assad to four years in prison and seized all of his property in the country as well as a home in London worth an estimated $25 million. His French properties include a manor and castle.

The court also confiscated rent he collected from tenants in Paris buildings he owns, including rent collected from a jeweler who has worked with celebrities.

His lawyers said they would appeal, with lawyer Benjamin Grundler saying that “there isn’t a cent of funds that comes from Syria in this case” and that “all the transfers” were legal.

Al-Assad was exiled from Syria in the mid-1980s after trying to take power from his older brother Hafez al-Assad, who ran the country for 30 years before handing power to his son Bashar.

The brothers agreed to resolve the issue with Rifaat’s exile and Hafez is said to have given his brother $300 million in public funds over the course of his exile, according to Bloomberg. Rifaat is also under investigation in Spain. [Bloomberg— Dennis Lynch


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