By John Smith •
Published: 22 Nov 2019 • 16:42
A SPANISH judge has recommended to prosecutors that former Syrian Vice-President Rifaat Al-Assad, the exiled uncle of Bashar Assad, and 13 others be put on trial charged with belonging to a criminal organization and money laundering.
He suggests that Al-Assad and his eight sons along with others have systematically laundered money taken from Syria over a period of 40 years.
This judge ordered the confiscation of 500 properties in 2018, many of which were in Marbella and Puerto Banus alongside a huge tract of land in Benahavis on which he planned to build a centre for members of his religious sect which was said to be worth €60 million alone.
The court alleges that in total the 14 people investigated managed to launder at least €600 million, although it is difficult to be totally accurate as they have not been helping with court enquiries up until now.
Whether this case will ever come to court is questionable as Al-Assad is over 80 and the exact whereabouts of all of those who might be prosecuted is currently not known.
Interestingly, his assets in Gibraltar were never seized and in 2018, the Supreme Court there approved the sale of a number of properties including 6 to 9 Waterport to a family trust which is 75 per cent owned by three brothers, one of whom was at the time and is still the Financial Services Minister there.
The court accepted that the money originally used to purchase the property was a gift from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
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Married to Ophelia in Gibraltar in 1978, John has spent much of his life travelling on security print and minting business and visited every continent except Antarctica.
Having retired several years ago, the couple moved to their house in Estepona and John became a regular news writer for the EWN Media Group taking particular interest in Finance, Gibraltar and Costa del Sol Social Scene.
Currently he is acting as Editorial Consultant for the paper helping to shape its future development.
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