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Tycoon says he used front companies to help Assad dodge sanctions

Amman: Syrian businessman Rami Makhlouf has revealed he set up a web of offshore front companies to help his cousin President Bashar al-Assad evade Western sanctions, in a social media post blasting the government for investigating his business empire.

One of Syria’s richest and most powerful businessmen, Makhlouf said security forces were now targeting Cham Holding, the centrepiece of a vast business portfolio much of which has been seized by the cash-strapped government.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad casts his ballot in parliamentary elections, with his wife Asma, on July 19.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad casts his ballot in parliamentary elections, with his wife Asma, on July 19.Credit:AP

The former Assad loyalist said security forces were pursuing contracts signed by the company on suspicion he had embezzled funds abroad.

“They fabricated our embezzlement of funds and transferring it to our accounts abroad … Stop these unjust claims and read well the contracts,” Makhlouf said in a Facebook post.

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