Panama Papers: Mossack Fonseca, HSBC Had Dealings With Assad’s Cousin Despite Sanctions

Leaks reveal how Rami Makhlouf smuggled his huge wealth out of Syria with help from Panamanian law firm and British banking giant

The regime of Bashar al-Assad has kept silent regarding accusations that the firm at the center of the Panama Papers leak assisted the Syrian president’s cousin in stashing his huge fortune in overseas companies at a time when a third of Syrians lived below the poverty line.

The Panama Papers have revealed how Syria’s richest man, Rami Makhlouf, who controlled around 60 percent of Syria’s economy, has smuggled his assets out of the country since 2006 with help from Mossack Fonseca.

According to a study published by UNICEF in 2014, titled "Multidimensional Poverty in Syria", about 33.6 percent of Syrians lived in poverty during the year 2007.

As of Saturday, April 9, the Assad regime is yet to issue a statement on Makhlouf’s dealings with the Panamanian company. The leaks have also revealed how British bank HSBC provided financial services and advice to Makhlouf even after sanctions were placed on the billionaire businessmen following the outbreak of civil war.

The British Guardian newspaper published a report revealing how HSBC continued providing services to Makhlouf from 2008 until September 2011, in spite of U.S. and EU sanctions.

This article was translated and edited by The Syrian Observer. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.


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