Bachar el-Assad's uncle sentenced in Paris to four years in prison

Rifaat Al-Asaad, Syrian President Bachar Al-Asaad's uncle prosecuted in France for embezzlement of Syrian public money ARAB NEWS NETWORK / AFP

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In France, justice ruled in the trial of Rifaat el-Assad, the Syrian leader's uncle was sentenced to four years in prison, for money laundering in an organized gang, and aggravated tax fraud. Accused of having fraudulently built a vast real estate empire through, the younger brother of former leader Hafez el-Assad did not appear before the criminal court in Paris during the trial. But that did not prevent the judges from announcing the confiscation of all of its French heritage.


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Two mansions, forty apartments, a castle, stud farms, all the French properties of Rifaat el-Assad estimated at 90 million euros were therefore seized. The criminal court followed the requests of the national financial parquet, the confiscation of its goods, four years of prison and ten million euros of fine.

It is the second ill-gotten property case tried in France after the trial of Teodorin Obiang, the Vice-President of Equatorial Guinea, also convicted in his absence. Relying on fragile health, 82-year-old Rifaat el-Assad did not appear in court. This former dignitary of the Syrian regime, who fell from disgrace in 1984, is guilty of having embezzled Syrian public funds, between 1996 and 2016.

Without family heritage, in Syria, it was therefore through front companies that he managed to build an imposing real estate empire in Europe worth 800 million euros, located in Spain but also in the United Kingdom where he resides. The judges also asked for the seizure of one of his London properties. A sentence of four years in prison which will not be effective immediately, because it was not accompanied by a warrant. His lawyers are still able to appeal.

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  • Syria
  • Bashar al-Assad
  • Justice