This is how Gibraltar was used to launder 700 million euros from the looting of Syria

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  • The trial in Spain of the uncle of the current Syrian autocrat has been suspended this week

This is how Gibraltar was used to launder 700 million euros from the looting of Syria

Rifaat al-Assad , uncle of the current president of Syria, the autocrat Bashar al-Assad, bleached allegedly through companies in Gibraltar and other tax havens more than 700 million euros stolen mainly from the Treasury of his country. He has dozens of properties in Spain: chalets in Costa del Sol (Málaga), garages and works of art, above all. He now lives in Syria, where he fled to. after being tried and sentenced to four years in prison in France for laundering another 90 million euros in properties of dubious origin.

This week he was to be tried in Spain, but the octogenarian (85 years old) has alleged health reasons for not going to the Third Criminal Chamber of the National Court. There is no scheduled date for the resumption of the trial.

“The defendant Rifaat al-Assad designed the attack. “A corporate structure was established in order to acquire a series of real estate properties in Spanish territory, using funds of illicit origin for them, hiding their origin and integrating them into economic activity with the appearance of legality,” the statement reads. The accusation by the Prosecutor's Office, to which EL PERIÓDICO DE ESPAÑA, from the Prensa Ibérica group, of which this newspaper is also a part, has had access. “For this, he used not only from people who designed such a corporate framework in Gibraltar,Not only were those not sentenced to prison and whose license to operate was withdrawn by the Peñón authorities on February 8, 2010, but also that of his family members.”

For Rifaat al -Assad asks for eight years in prison and the payment of a fine of 2.7 million euros. For eight of his relatives, six years and 2.2 million each. They acted as figureheads for him, that is, people who take legal responsibility for a business that actually belongs to another person. The Prosecutor's Office asks that all movable and immovable property and shares in all companies involved in the laundering operations be confiscated.

The Public Ministry considers that Rifaat al-Assad was in the cell. Spide of a criminal organization “of a family nature” in which there was a division of functions and attribution of tasks: his relatives received a fixed salary for their “work” of figureheads. So much so. whatthe defendant technically lacks any recognized assets. Rifaat al-Assad, who was also the country's vice-president from 1984 to 1998, began the war. He created this money laundering scheme around 1986, and he kept it going when they began to investigate him in Spain, in 2016. 

Rifaat al-Assad and the Baath party< /strong>

Rifaat al-Assad is a member of the Baath party in Syria. it helped to his brother Hafez in the coup d'état of November 13, 1970, which the latter gave him power. Hafez al-Assad converted He turned Syria into a dynastic tyranny. The power inherited it from him. his son, the current Syrian president, Bashar al-Assad, who has repressed with an iron fist an uprising by the civilian population, first, and maintains an open civil war against dissidents and jihadists with the help of Russia.

Rifaat al-Assad controlled the For decades, the information services and the “defense brigades”, the political police that defended the regime. participated in in forced disappearances, kidnappings and extortion of political opponents. Thanks to this “ a systematic campaign of irregular enrichment based on four axes”, says the prosecutor: smuggling from Lebanon; usurpation and sale of usurped properties; trafficking of works of art that he obtained from a “systematic plunder of the historical heritage of Syria, sponsoring irregular archaeological excavations and clandestinely selling the so-called artifacts. obtained”; and hashish trafficking. With these activities he amassed a wealth that the Syrian opposition estimates at around 4,000 million dollars. to buy properties in Spain in 1986: 244 parking spaces through a Gibraltarian company. continued investing in real estate and businesses in the province of Málaga, especially in strategic points on the Costa del Sol.

It is estimated that the 507 properties acquired in our country between 1986 and 2005 currently have a value of about 700 million euros. In addition to After acquiring multiple properties on the Costa del Sol, Rifat took over the operation of businesses such as the Hotel Park Plaza Suites, in Benabola, or the Plaza Beach Banús, the sentence adds. The list of properties is almost endless.

When in 2017 the judge of the National Court José de la Mata began to When Rifaat's children, residents of Spain, were interrogated, they confessed that it was their father who carried out all the laundering operations through transfers from their accounts in dozens of companies in Gibraltar : Kurosho Co.Ltd; Obadiah Ltd., Rosabel Holding Limited, Alambra Trust, Tulipa Holdings, etc… Al Assad has one of the most emblematic buildings of the Rock which, in part, was rented to government offices in the colony and online gaming companies, reported the press. in 2017 Gibraltar News. 

Spain was not his only real estate target. He has the largest private residence in the UK after Buckingham Palace.

This failed trial comes amid high-level diplomatic negotiations between the UK and the European Union, with the presence and follow-up of Spain and Gibraltar, to reach a Treaty that defines the conditions of integration of the Rock after the departure of the United Kingdom from the European Union. Gibraltar is still considered by Spain as a tax haven, according to the latest list published by the Treasury in February of this year. The European Union no longer sees it as such. 

Laundering in Gibraltar of the Uzbekistan elite

Gibraltar has appeared These days also involved in a money laundering scheme involving Gulnara Karimova, daughter of the former president of Uzbekistan, Islam Karimov, according to a report provided by Freedom For Eurasia published by the British BBC. She has a real estate empire that is estimated at around 230 million euros. Karimova, it's here. She became an ambassador for her country in Spain, as well as a music star. He used shell companies in the UK, the Virgin Islands and Gibraltar to hide her fortune. She was arrested for corruption around 2014 and convicted in 2017.