Bashar al-Assad’s cousin, Rami Makhlouf, made a comment today on the imposition of the Assad government becoming a legal guardian of Cham Holding.
Makhlouf expressed his thoughts in a new Facebook post. He wrote that, “after the arbitrary cancellation of free market contracts, the young took possession of the latter and pressured several other investors, on various charges and pretexts, to disrupt their business and take hold of their property. They also took charge of Cham Holding which includes more than seventy shareholders, who were the pillars of the Syrian economy.”
Makhlouf added that, “the regime took legal guardianship of the company after one of the partners bought a small stake in the company (less than one percent), and discovered, with the help of the security services, the existence of a signed contract between Cham Holding and the company Ornina, which led them to make up a story about our misappropriation of the contract amounts and transferring them to our own accounts overseas.”
The Damascus First Civil Commercial Court announced last Wednesday that legal oversight was imposed on Cham Holding after a shareholder in the company, by the name of Ahmed Khalil, filed a lawsuit against Makhlouf, in which he accused him of stealing 23 million dollars.
The lawsuit details revealed that Makhlouf smuggled and stole money, putting it in his own account through a fake company, Ornina, and he did not even add the amount to the company’s account for the shareholders to benefit from.
Makhlouf justified this by saying that Ornina Company and other similar companies’ raison d’être is to circumvent the sanctions imposed on Cham Holding, in addition to being a way to pay some dues to suppliers, who do not want to be directly associated with the company, and that the amounts collected are in the Cham Holding accounts and all contracts associated with the company shall be honored.
The court appointed Hakim Nasser Mahfoud as a court supervisor for the company. He is getting a monthly salary of five million Syrian pounds, while Makhlouf confirmed that the supervisor, “was an employee of ours and was recently arrested for three months, and he was not released until he caved in to everything that was asked of him.”
Makhlouf asked, “Is it a coincidence, or is security also involved in this matter?”
He concluded his post with a message to his partners in Cham Holding: “For our partners in Cham Holding, forgive us for what happens to young people; there is no power or strength except by Allah.”
This case has been unfolding against the backdrop of the ongoing conflict between Assad and Makhlouf, which began after the Assad regime demanded that Makhlouf pay huge sums of money, and the latter’s insistence on the illegality of the matter, which prompted him to publish a series of videos and posts attacking these measures.
Last month, the Assad government issued several decisions against Makhlouf and his companies, including a cash seizure of Rami Makhlouf, his wife, and his children, in addition to appointing legal oversight on Makhlouf’s company, Sertil, and excluding him from free market investment.
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.