Last Updated: Thu Jun 16, 2011 23:09 pm (KSA) 20:09 pm (GMT)

Syria tycoon facing European Union sanctions turns to charity

Telecoms tycoon Rami Makhluf, a cousin of President Bashar Al Assad who is on a list of 13 Syrians facing EU sanctions. (File photo)
Telecoms tycoon Rami Makhluf, a cousin of President Bashar Al Assad who is on a list of 13 Syrians facing EU sanctions. (File photo)

Telecoms tycoon Rami Makhluf, a cousin of President Bashar Al Assad who is on a list of 13 Syrians facing EU sanctions, said Thursday he will allocate profits from his businesses to charity.

“Profits from the shares I own in Syriatel will be allocated to charity, humanitarian work and development projects” for people across Syria, Mr. Makhluf said in a statement obtained by AFP.

The statement said Mr. Makhluf owns 40 percent of Syriatel, the country’s largest mobile phone operator.

“I will not engage in any new projects that can generate personal gain and I will devote myself to charity and humanitarian work,” Mr. Makhluf said in the statement.

He said he took this decision because he no longer wants “to be a burden on Syria, its people and its president from now on.”

Mr. Makhluf is widely despised by opponents for allegedly exploiting his relationship with the president to build his commercial empire, including Syriatel.

In May, the European Union included Mr. Makhluf on a list of 13 Syrians facing sanctions and in February the US Treasury froze his assets as part of widening sanctions against Damascus targeting officials engaged in “public corruption.”

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