Analysts have claimed Syria’s President, Bashar al-Assad, may have amassed up to $1.4 billion for his family and associates, despite moves to freeze his regime’s assets in London, Switzerland and US.
According to the London business intelligence firm Alaco, many of Assad’s assets are held in Russia, Hong Kong and a range of offshore tax havens to spread the risk of seizure, while myriad companies and trusts are understood to have been deployed to disguise assets that ultimately belong to members of the regime.
Iain Willis, the head of research at Alaco, said: “In terms of realisable assets, it’s likely to be in the region of $1 billion to $1.5 billion. This would be in line with Egypt’s Mubarak and the Marcoses of the Philippines.”
“These are held, not just by Assad himself, but by extended family members, by second cousins, uncles, business partners and their advisers. Those funds are likely to be held in places like Russia, maybe Dubai, Lebanon, Morocco, even Hong Kong, but the assets themselves are likely to be worldwide.”