Syria’s Rami Makhlouf relinquishes assets to charity

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Makhlouf said he was “very relieved and euphoric”
The Syrian government said his company owes $77 million

DUBAI: Rami Makhlouf, one of the richest men in Syria, is relinquishing his assets to his charity Ramak Humanitarian, newspaper Asharq Al-Awsat reported.

His shares in several banks and insurance companies will not be transferable or sellable, Makhlouf said.

In another video message on Facebook, the businessman said he was “very relieved and euphoric” to transfer the ownership.
It was “very difficult, but giving it to a humanitarian charity is an indescribable joy,” he added.

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The move allows Makhlouf to avoid government seizure of his assets, sources in Damascus told Asharq Al-Awsat.

The Syrian government earlier ordered the seizure his assets, his wife’s and children’s on May 19, according to a government document reviewed by Reuters.

The document said the “precautionary seizure” aimed to guarantee payment of sums owned to the Syrian telecom regulatory authority.

According to the Syrian government, Mahklouf’s telecommunications company, Syriatel, owes nearly $77 million.

He has released a number of video messages on his Facebook page regarding the dispute, appealing to his cousin, Syrian President Bashar Assad, for help in one of them.

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