Rami Makhlouf, businessman and cousin of Syrian regime President Bashar Al-Assad, complained about the increase in the financial burden imposed by the regime on his companies, in an indication of the extent of the financial crisis the regime is experiencing.
This came in a video recording of Makhlouf circulated on the Internet, in which he explained that the regime requires him to pay additional taxes from Syriatel, the cellular operator company he chairs.
The demand for additional payments does not go in line with the terms of the contract signed between the company and the regime, and does not match the company’s income and expenses, Makhlouf pointed out.
He expressed his willingness to pay the amount imposed by the regime, although described it as “unfair”, but asked to schedule accounts and taxes so that the company does not collapse, and the shareholders are not harmed.
During previous years, many reports have been circulated about a dispute between Makhlouf and the regime, as he has not been supporting the latter as required during its financial crises.
Makhlouf is considered one of the most notable businessmen of the Syrian regime, and he benefited from his relations with Al-Assad in his ability to acquire great wealth.
Makhlouf was one of the most prominent “symbols of corruption” that had been attacked by protests in Syria, after the outbreak of the revolution in the country in March 2011.
The Syrian economy has witnessed a significant decline since the start of the revolution and the subsequent military operations. The most prominent manifestation of which is the collapse of the value of the Syrian pound, as the exchange rate has recently reached around 1,300 Syrian pounds per dollar, after it was 50 Syrian pounds per dollar before the outbreak of the revolution.