The Al-Modon website has released a report stating that Amr Salem, the former Minister of Internal Trade, has been arrested for questioning allegations of collusion with US intelligence agencies. The investigation pertains to his suspected involvement in corrupt activities and questionable business deals. In a statement to the “Snack Syrian” website, Salem denied the accusations levelled against him.
According to a source cited by al-Modon on Monday, members of the Syrian National Security carried out a raid on Amr Salem’s farm in the Sabboura area of the Damascus countryside. During the raid, they discovered a substantial amount of money, approximately $800 million, along with 6 billion Syrian pounds and 2 kilograms of 21-carat gold.
The report also alleges that the former minister smuggled $2 million to the UAE in mid-May 2022, depositing the funds in a bank account under his wife Abeer al-Bitar’s name.
According to the same source cited by al-Modon, President Assad recently instructed Finance Minister Kenan Yaghi to establish a committee responsible for confiscating Amr Salem’s assets, both tangible and intangible.
The website also reported that the regime facilitated Salem’s arrest by leaking a confidential document from 2005, signed by the head of the National Security Bureau, which accused Salem of collaborating with the Israeli Mossad and US intelligence agencies. The document warned against appointing Salem to any governmental role.
Amr Salem, in audio recordings obtained by the website Snack Syrian, refuted all allegations made against him, stating: “All of the reports published about me are entirely fabricated, as is evident from their writing style.”
Salem went on to affirm: “I am presently at my home in Damascus, and there have been no charges or accusations leveled against me.”
In late March, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad issued a decree announcing the dismissal of Amr Salem from his position as Minister of Internal Trade, replacing him with Mohsen Abdel Karim. The decree included ministerial changes involving four other officials.
Salem had been appointed to the position in August 2021, prior to his dismissal on March 29, 2023. During his tenure, Salem was a frequent presence in the media, with his statements often generating debate and discussion on social media. While some regarded him as being “in touch with the people,” others saw his remarks as detached from reality and a source of sarcastic humor.
Donia al-Watan website reported that Amr Salem was dismissed from his position in the Ministry of Communications in 2007 following a corruption case. The General Authority for Control and Inspection launched an investigation into the matter, resulting in the government seizing Salem’s assets, both tangible and intangible, as well as those of the then-Director General of the Telecommunications Corporation, Haitham Chidiac.
However, Salem was ultimately acquitted of the corruption charges a year after his departure from the ministry, despite the seizure of his assets at the time.
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.