French judiciary reinforces decision to confiscate Assad’s uncle’s property

Picture taken in 1984 shows the late Syrian president Hafez al-Assad (R) with his youngest brother Rifaat (L) at a military ceremony in Damascus.

The French judiciary reinforced its decision to confiscate the property of Rifaat al-Assad, the exiled brother of late Syrian president Hafez al-Assad, and rejected his appeals against the decision, Agence France Presse reported on Friday.

Assad, who is suspected of owning this property after embezzling money from Syria, was forced into exile in the 1980s for trying to overthrow his older brother, Hafez al-Assad.

Among the confiscated property are two luxurious houses in Paris.

The investigation into Rifaat’s finances was triggered by Sherpa, which claims the fortune was stolen during his time at the heart of the Syrian regime.

Investigators estimated that Rifaat al-Assad and his family’s property in France is around 90 million Euros divided among real estate in Paris and offices in Lyon.

A source close to the matter said the judiciary will later look into other appeals which Assad filed against confiscation of other property.

Assad, however, claims his fortune is a result of gifts which he received before being exiled.

According to the source, Assad said he’s a politician who does not care about his property and does not read the documents he signs. However, the appeal court doubted this narrative and based its decision on telephone recordings which reveal that an accountant had been “regularly” informing Assad about the situation of his real estate.

The manor of Bashar al-Assad’s uncle, Rifaat al-Assad, is seen, in Bessancourt, north of Paris, Friday, Sept. 13, 2013.

The entrance of Bashar al-Assad’s uncle, Rifaat al-Assad’s manor, is seen, in Bessancourt, north of Paris, Friday, Sept. 13, 2013.


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