Uncle of Assad in France was sentenced to four years in prison

The Paris criminal court on 17 June acknowledged the 82-year-old Syrian businessman Rifat Assad, the native uncle of the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, guilty of fraudulent laundering of money derived from the Treasury Syria. This was reported by AFP.

The property of the defendant, estimated at €90 million, the French justice ordered the confiscation.

The warrant for the arrest of Assad, who for health reasons was not present in court had not been issued. His lawyers said that immediately appeal.

Rifat Assad, one of the commanders of the elite units of the Syrian troops, accused of involvement in a number of war crimes, particularly the brutal suppression of the uprising in Hama in 1982. In 1984 he was accused of attempting a coup d’etat and the overthrow of his brother, Hafez Assad. The warlord left Syria, lived in Switzerland, where he moved to France.

For 35 years Rifat Assad has bought up lots of property in France, Spain, UK and Gibraltar; the origin of the funds has raised questions of the French authorities. Investigators believed that Assad was laundering the illegal income of their Syrian relatives. Nominally, despite the exile, the younger brother of Hafez al-Assad, uncle of Bashar al-Assad has kept a post of the Vice-President of Syria until 1998. The investigation also led the Spanish militiamen.

Rifat Assad claimed that owes its status to a friend, king Abdullah of Saudi Arabia.

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