A court in Paris has sentenced the 82-year-old uncle of the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to four years in prison and ordered the confiscation of all his property in France, as well as one of his London properties.
On Wednesday, the decision was taken during a trial that found Rifaat al-Assad guilty for the acquisition of millions of euros of French property by using funds diverted from the Syrian government.
According to the decision, the younger brother of the late Syrian President Hafez al-Assad – father of the incumbent president committed crimes, including aggravated tax fraud and misappropriation of Syrian funds, between 1984 and 2016. He denies the charges.
Rifaat al-Assad, ” the trial opened on 9 December last year. It has been the subject of an investigation in France since 2014.
This happened the year after anti-corruption group Sherpa filed a lawsuit accuses Assad of using ill-gotten gains of corruption in Syria to build a real estate fortune in the country.
Rifaat al-Assad’s real estate assets were valued at 90 million euros ($99.5 m).
Formerly, Syria, the us vice-president al-Assad has left his country of origin, in 1984, after mounting a failed coup against his brother Hafez, who led Syria from 1971 to 2000.
It was nicknamed the ” Butcher of Hama “, who would have command of the troops who put down an uprising in central Syria in 1982.
Currently, he describes himself as an opponent of his nephew’s plan.
After he arrived in Europe, Rifaat al-Assad’s lavish lifestyle, four wives and 16 children have quickly raised eyebrows.
Its said the French fortune includes two houses in the city of Paris, a measuring 3,000 square meters (32,000 square feet), as well as a stud farm, a castle, and a 7 300 square meters (78,500 square feet) of office space in Lyon.
He and his family have also built a huge portfolio of 507 properties in Spain, with a value of approximately € 695 million ($782m), Spanish for the legal profession, the documents show. All of its properties in the country have been seized by the authorities in 2017.
Al-Assad, had granted the French Legion of Honor in 1986 for ” services rendered “, insists his lifestyle has been made possible by the donations of the Saudi arabian royal family, amounting to more than $1m per month.
But then his lawyers have claimed to document donations of nearly $ 25 million between 1984 and 2010, the French investigators enrolled transfers from Saudi Arabia a total of only $ 10 million.