Spain Highest Court on Tuesday, April 4, 2017 has seized 503 properties worth US$ 740 million from Rifaat Al Assad, the uncle of Syrian President Bashar Al Assad and his relatives as part of a money laundering investigation.
French authorities discovered part of Al Assad’s fortune was invested in property in Marbella under the name of companies managed by his wives and two of his children.
Rifaat Al Assad, 79, was vice president of Syria in the 1980s when his brother and Bashar’s father Hafez ruled the country.
In 1984, he went on exile for attempting to seize power while Hafez recovered from heart problems. He has mostly lived in exile in Europe since then.
The accounts of 16 individuals and 76 companies linked to Al Assad have been blocked and the confiscated assets include garages, holiday homes, apartments in a luxury hotel and a 33 million square meter estate that occupies a third of a little town. All properties are located in or around Port of Malaga Banus and Marbella.
He is believed to have taken as much as US$ 300 million in public money with him when he left the country to settle in Europe.
While he was living in France in 2013, Al Assad was placed under formal investigation for concealing stolen assets, money laundering and fiscal fraud.
French investigators seized real estate from his family worth US$ 95 million located in France, Curacao, Luxembourg and Liechtenstein.
Al Assad claimed in the past he was given the money by the Saudi royal family, but his appeal was turned down.