Syrian tycoon and a close ally of the Syrian regime president, Rami Makhlouf, yesterday criticised security forces for arresting his employees in an "inhumane way" in order to force him to step down from his business empire and pay millions of dollars in taxes.
Makhlouf, who is also the cousin of President Bashar Al Assad and is said to have supported him with millions of dollars throughout the civil war, said in a video posted on social media that "some people" have been arresting his employees. He did not name those he was referring to.
"Today the pressures began in an unprecedented way and sadly in an inhumane way. The security forces have started arresting our employees," Makhlouf said, adding that these "managers" have been loyal supporters of the Syrian regime president.
Makhlouf claimed in the video that he had been asked to step down from his companies, including Syriatel, the main mobile operator in Syria.
"Did anyone expect the security forces to pounce on Rami Makhlouf's companies which had been their biggest supporters and patron during the war?" he asked.
According to Makhlouf, security forces have asked him to pay $300 million in taxes.
The billionaire was hit by EU sanctions in 2011, while the US imposed restrictions on him in 2017.