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Swiss Bank Leaks Reveal Huge Funds in Accounts of Assad Cronies

Abdel Halim Khaddam, the former vice president of the Syrian regime, and Muhammad Makhlouf, Bashar al-Assad's uncle are said to hold millions at a swiss bank, according to Syria TV.
Swiss Bank Leaks Reveal Huge Funds in Accounts of Assad Cronies

A German newspaper has revealed details of data leaks at Credit Suisse, Switzerland’s second-largest bank. The leaks include accounts with large sums of money for Abdel Halim Khaddam, the former vice president of the Syrian regime, and Muhammad Makhlouf, Bashar al-Assad’s uncle.

On Sunday the German daily, Süddeutsche Zeitung, reported that a leak from Credit Suisse revealed the details of the accounts of more than 30,000 customers. The leaks also indicated potential deficiencies in conducting the necessary audits for many customers. 

The data reached the newspaper, which said it had received the data from an anonymous source on a secure digital mailbox more than a year ago. It noted that it was unclear whether the source was an individual or a group. 

The German newspaper confirmed that it had not paid any money and had not promised anything in exchange for the leaks. 

Abdel Halim Khaddam

Over the years when his Credit Suisse account was open, former Assad regime vice president Abdel Halim Khaddam has raised tens of millions of dollars in cash, corporate shares, and luxury mansions, the newspaper said, asserting that it is a staggering fortune for a public official for life. 

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Details of Khaddam’s Credit Suisse account, which he jointly owned with his wife and three children, confirmed that the family had already accumulated a great deal of wealth while Khaddam was in office. The account was opened in 1994 and reached its highest balance of approximately 90 million Swiss francs (102 million USD) in September 2003. 

Khaddam died in 2020 and his sons did not respond to phone calls or repeated requests for comment sent by email and text messages. Credit Suisse did not comment on the account but said it “adheres to the relevant policies and regulations.” 

Mohammed Makhlouf, Bashar al-Assad’s uncle 

Among the clients whose accounts were leaked was Mohammed Makhlouf, the brother-in-law of former President Hafez al-Assad, who served as a front for his son-in-law for years while benefiting from his political ties in a business empire that includes tobacco, real estate, banking, and oil. 

Mohammed Makhlouf died in 2020, and OCCRP sent messages to Mohammed Makhlouf’s son, Rami, through his social media accounts, but received no response. 

The newspaper did not mention the amount of money deposited in the account of Makhlouf, especially since he enjoyed broad influence in Syria that far exceeded that of Abdel Halim Khaddam, given that he belongs to the immediate family circle of the Assad family. 

Khaddam and Makhlouf were among many Arab or influential officials who relied on Swiss banks to store their wealth for years. Due to the country’s financial secrecy and relative stability, it became a popular destination for legitimate and illicit funds.


This article was translated and edited by The Syrian Observer. The Syrian Observer has not verified the content of this story. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.

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