French Court Sentences Rifaat Al-Assad to 4 Years in Prison
A French court sentenced Rifaat Al-Assad, Syria's former Vice President, to four years in prison for "misappropriating public funds in Syria, laundering the spoils, and building a vast property portfolio in France with ill-gotten gains."
The Court of Appeals of Paris sentenced Thursday 84-year-old former Syrian Vice President, Rifaat Al-Assad, to four years in prison for "misappropriating public funds in Syria, laundering the spoils, and building a vast property portfolio in France with ill-gotten gains" worth an estimated 90 million euros.
Al-Assad, who has been in exile since 1984, had a guilty verdict upheld against him by a French court for the abovementioned crimes, which he committed between 1996 and 2016. However, the verdict was announced in absentia, for the former Vice President did not attend the hearing.
The defense announced they would file an appeal before the Court of Cassation.
During the two trials, the defense asserted that the money was "completely legal," noting that it was "massive aid" from Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince and later Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz, between 1980 and his death in 2015.
His French fortune includes two townhouses in chic Parisian neighborhoods, a stud farm, about 40 apartments, and a chateau. The French judiciary will confiscate all his immovable property.
These properties were owned by Rifaat al-Assad and his relatives through companies in Panama, Liechtenstein, and Luxembourg.
Al-Assad was also convicted of aggravated tax fraud, in addition to secretly employing domestic workers.
On the other hand, Al-Assad was acquitted of the crimes committed between 1984 and 1996 on legal grounds.