French jail term confirmed for uncle of Syria’s al-Assad | Corruption News

French jail term confirmed for uncle of Syria’s al-Assad | Corruption News

Court confirms final yr’s four-year jail sentence in opposition to 84-year-old Rifaat al-Assad, which he could not must serve given his superior age.

A French courtroom has reportedly upheld a responsible verdict in opposition to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s uncle for misappropriating public funds in Syria, laundering the spoils and constructing an unlimited property portfolio in France with ill-gotten positive factors.

AFP information company reported on Thursday that the Paris appeals courtroom had confirmed a four-year jail sentence for Rifaat al-Assad, though the 84-year-old former navy commander is unlikely to serve time as a result of of his age.

The ruling, nevertheless, clears the way in which for all of Rifaat al-Assad’s property in France, estimated to be price about 90 million euros ($106m), to be seized, as ordered by the decrease courtroom in June final yr.

Rifaat al-Assad has been beneath investigation in France since 2014.

The youthful brother of the late Syrian President Hafez al-Assad – father of the incumbent president – was tried for crimes allegedly dedicated between 1984 and 2016, together with aggravated tax fraud and misappropriation of Syrian funds.

A Paris courtroom final June dismissed fees in opposition to Rifaat al-Assad for the interval 1984 to 1996, however discovered him responsible of organised laundering of funds embezzled from the Syrian public purse between 1996 and 2016. He was additionally convicted of tax fraud.

Formerly Syria’s vice chairman, Rifaat al-Assad left his residence nation in 1984 after mounting a failed coup in opposition to his brother Hafez, who led Syria from 1971 to 2000.

His French fortune contains two townhouses in stylish Parisian neighbourhoods, a stud farm, about 40 flats and a chateau, AFP stated.

Rifaat al-Assad and his household additionally constructed up an enormous portfolio of properties in Spain, valued at round 695 million euros ($822m), which had been all seized by the authorities in 2017, it reported.

Lawyers for Rifaat al-Assad, who was awarded France’s Legion of Honour in 1986 for “services rendered”, have insisted all his cash had a lawful origin.

The French case in opposition to him started with a swimsuit filed in 2013 by anti-corruption marketing campaign group Sherpa.

Calling Thursday’s verdict “encouraging”, Sherpa stated in a press release that it hoped the courts would now intensify the struggle in opposition to illicit funds stashed away in France.

“This decision is a victory that emphasises the importance of establishing a binding framework for the operational aspects of the restitution of assets derived from grand corruption,” the group stated on Twitter.

Moreover, the organisation stated the funds should be allocated “to projects in the areas of health, education, and good governance”.

Rifaat al-Assad can also be broadly held accountable for the suppression of an rebellion in 1982 in opposition to Hafez through which many hundreds had been killed.

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