Syrian court orders Syriatel placed under judicial custody

The decision to place Syriatel under judicial custody is to ‘guarantee the rights of the public treasury and the rights of the shareholders in the company,’ a Syrian court said. (AFP)
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Updated 05 June 2020

Syrian court orders Syriatel placed under judicial custody

  • Syriatel owner Rami Makhlouf is a cousin of Syrian President Bashar Assad and one of Syria’s richest men

BEIRUT: A Syrian court has ordered that Syriatel, owned by prominent businessman Rami Makhlouf, be placed under judicial custody amid a high-profile dispute over arrears, according to a document posted on the court’s Facebook page.
Makhlouf, the cousin of Syrian President Bashar Assad and one of Syria’s richest men, had his assets ordered seized over alleged back payments to the country’s telecoms regulator which it put at 134 billion pounds, or around $77 million at the current exchange rate on the parallel market.
Once at the heart of Assad’s inner circle, Makhlouf has called the asset seizure illegal and an attempt by the government to take the company from him. The unprecedented public tussle has uncovered a rare rift in Syria’s ruling elite.
The decision to place Syriatel under judicial custody is to “guarantee the rights of the public treasury and the rights of the shareholders in the company” the administrative court wrote on Facebook.
Makhlouf has addressed the dispute in three video messages in which he has appealed to Assad himself to help save his firm. In his last appearance, Makhlouf said he had been told to quit as the head of Syriatel.
Last month, a court placed a temporary travel ban on Makhlouf pending settlement of the dispute.


‘Disappointed’ billionaire brothers urge new talks on Saudi bid for Newcastle FC

Updated 03 August 2020

‘Disappointed’ billionaire brothers urge new talks on Saudi bid for Newcastle FC

  • The Reuben brothers want to buy 10 per cent of the club as part of PIF takeover
  • Brothers remain 'totally supportive' of the deal should there be a way forward

DUBAI: Another big financial backer of the £300 million ($390 million) bid for Newcastle United football club has come out in favor of a takeover led by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund.

The Reuben brothers, multibillionaire businessmen who want to buy 10 per cent of the club, said on Monday they were “very disappointed” when the bid was withdrawn late last week after months of stalling by the Premier League in England.

“We would welcome any resurrection of talks and progress with the Premier League and are aware that the Reuben brothers remain totally supportive of the deal should there be a way forward,” said a statement from their company, Arena Racing.

The brothers’ renewed support for the deal will raise the pressure on Richard Masters, the Premier League chief executive, who has remained silent since the takeover offer was withdrawn last week.

PIF made no secret of its disappointment and frustration that the Premier League — which has the duty to approve or reject a takeover of a member club  — has reached no decision since contracts were exchanged on the deal in April that would give the Saudi sovereign wealth fund 80 per cent of the 128-year-old club

Amanda Staveley, the British financier who has been at the heart of the deal and would have bought the remaining 10 per cent, also wants to see the deal revived.

The Reuben brothers, who already run two horseracing courses in the northeast of England, said: “We were planning on creating one of the premier sporting hubs in the UK, undertaking development work that is vital for the region and enjoying valuable synergies with the football club.

“We continue to hope that those exciting plans are not in vain.”