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Top EU Court confirms sanctions against cousin of Syria’s al-Assad

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The European Union’s top court on Thursday, upheld sanctions against the cousin of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Rami Makhlouf, a businessman seen as a Principal Financier of the regime.

In 2011, the EU imposed measures that barred Makhlouf from entering or transiting through the bloc’s territory and froze any funds and economic resources he held there.

Makhlouf challenged the sanctions imposed on him for the period of May 2016 to May 2017, arguing that he had retired from the business world and was dedicating himself to charitable activities, as well as saying he was no longer associated with the Assad regime.

At the time, the EU’s General Court rejected his appeal, stating that Makhlouf was still a prominent businessman as he was the president of Syria’s leading mobile telephone operator, Syriatel.

It also said it had proof that he was still closely associated with the regime.

Makhlouf took the issue to the European Court of Justice, the EU’s top tribunal, claiming among other things that it had ignored several of his arguments.

But the Luxembourg-based judges found this not to be the case, confirming on Thursday that the sanctions remained valid through May 2017.

The EU courts have previously upheld several challenges to the bloc’s sanctions brought by relatives of al-Assad. (dpa/NAN)

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