Syrian government orders seizure of assets of Assad’s cousin Makhlouf

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The Syrian government ordered the seizure of assets belonging to President Bashar al-Assad’s cousin Rami Makhlouf, one of Syria’s richest men, as well as his wife and children, according to a government document reviewed by Reuters.

The document, stamped May 19 and signed by the Syrian finance minister, said the “precautionary seizure” aimed to guarantee payment of sums owned to the Syrian telecom regulatory authority.

Once at the heart of Assad’s inner circle, Makhlouf has quarrelled with the authorities over funds which the government says are owed by his mobile phone company Syriatel. The unprecedented public tussle has uncovered a rare rift in the ruling elite.

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