Rifaat al-Assad sentenced in France, real estate seized
This 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 house in London worth an estimated $ 25 million. Its French properties include a manor house and a castle.
The court also confiscated the rent he collected from tenants in the Parisian 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 “there is not a dime of funds coming from Syria in this case” and that “all transfers” were legal.
Al-Assad was exiled from Syria in the mid-1980s after trying to seize power from his older brother Hafez al-Assad, who ruled the country for 30 years before ceding power to his son Bashar.
The brothers agreed to resolve the issue of Rifaat’s exile and Hafez allegedly gave his brother $ 300 million in public funds during his exile, according to Bloomberg. Rifaat is also under investigation in Spain. [Bloomberg] – Dennis Lynch