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Assad’s cousin calls on regime to abide by Constitution

Syrian business tycoon Makhlouf demands Assad implement constitutional articles protecting private property

Ahmet Karaahmet and Mehmet Burak Karacaoglu  | 11.01.2021 - Update : 11.01.2021
Assad’s cousin calls on regime to abide by Constitution

IDLIB, Syria

A Syrian business tycoon and billionaire cousin of the head of the Syrian regime on Monday called on Bashar al-Assad to abide by the Constitution and return his seized property.

In a letter to the Assad regime, Rami Makhlouf demanded the implementation of constitutional provisions that protect private property, saying Assad has done nothing about the illicit seizure of Makhlouf’s properties.

In statements on social media since last May, Makhlouf claimed that "war profiteers," whom he described as "disruptors," sold his companies and all his properties, including his house, under fake contracts.

Makhlouf said in the letter that on Jan. 6 regime security forces raided one of his offices and seized all his documents. He added that all the lawyers he hired to challenge the seizures were threatened by the “disruptors.”

Makhlouf announced last September that he was taking his dispute with the regime to court.

The tycoon said he reported those who seized his companies to the chairman of the Supreme Judicial Council.

Since last May, Makhlouf, who has been labeled the "artery of the regime's economy," has released videos on Facebook complaining about being asked to pay additional billions of Syrian lira in taxes as well as threats by security forces against his employees.

Observers say these videos show a split in the circle close to al-Assad as well as the regime's deteriorating economic policies and its need for money.

In recent years, many reports have emerged about a split between Makhlouf and the Syrian regime due to his "insufficient" financial support to the regime.

Makhlouf is considered one of the richest businessmen in Syria and has used his kinship with al-Assad to make a fortune.He has been described as one of the major "icons of corruption" who were denounced by pro-democracy protests that erupted in Syria in 2011.

Writing by Zehra Nur Duz

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