OFAC Issues First Syrian Designation Under Executive Order 13460
The Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets (OFAC) control today issued the first designation pursuant to Executive Order 13460, which was issued on February 13, 2008.
The individual designated by OFAC is Rami Makhluf, Syrian President Bashar al-Asad's first cousin and brother of Syrian General Intelligence Directorate official Hafiz Makhluf (who already appears on OFAC's SDN List). According to OFAC, Makhluf is:
Makhluf is said to have a controlling interest in SyriaTel, Syria's largest mobile phone company.
is a powerful Syrian businessman who amassed his commercial empire by exploiting his relationships with Syrian regime members. Makhluf has manipulated the Syrian judicial system and used Syrian intelligence officials to intimidate his business rivals. He employed these techniques when trying to acquire exclusive licenses to represent foreign companies in Syria and to obtain contract awards.
Makhluf's influence with certain Syrian government officials has led to his being able to control the issuance of certain types of profitable commodities contracts. His close business associations with some Syrian cabinet ministers have enabled him to gain access to lucrative oil exploration and power plant projects.
E.O. 13460 targets individuals and entities determined to be responsible for or who have benefited from the public corruption of senior officials of the Syrian regime.
Pursuant to E.O. 13460, any assets that Makhluf holds under U.S. jurisdiction will be frozen, and U.S. persons are prohibited from engaging in business or transactions with Makhluf.