French customs officials together with colleagues from Spain have confiscated property worth about 691 million euros, owned by Rifaat Assad — the uncle of the incumbent Syrian President Bashar Assad and his entourage, the newspaper Figaro reports.
According to the publication, the authorities seized more than 500 properties, including in the area of the resort town of Marbella in Spain, among them a mansion, country houses, apartments and a restaurant.
Rifat Assad is the brother of Bashar Assad's father, Hafez al-Assad who served as Syrian president from 1971 to 2000. He was expelled from the country after an attempted coup in 1983. A preliminary inquiry into the case of the President of Syria's uncle began in September 2013 after two French public organizations — Transparency International France and Sherpa — sued him in court. The object that initiated the litigation was the French property of a relative of the Syrian leader.