US sanctions Syrian oligarch and his ‘luxury reconstruction business empire’

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The United States has sanctioned 16 individuals and entities associated with an international network benefiting the Assad regime, the country’s treasury department said Tuesday.

Among those who were sanctioned is prominent Syrian businessman Samer Foz and his family, who have close ties to President Bashar al-Assad and who Washington said have made millions by developing properties on land seized from those who fled the war.

The US treasury said it was imposing sanctions on Foz, his siblings Amer and Husen, and the family-owned Aman Holding, a company run by the Foz family from the coastal city of Latakia.

Samer Foz is the Chairman and General Manager of Aman Holding, which was formerly known as the Aman Group. Aman Holding owns and controls over a dozen companies, all of which benefit Samer Foz personally and ultimately allow him to invest more in Assad’s luxury reconstruction projects, said the treasury department statement.

According to the US treasury department, Samer Foz has been profiting heavily from reconstruction efforts in Syria – including through luxury developments on land seized by the Syrian regime from its own people – and has been attempting to enlist foreign investors into Syrian reconstruction projects.

On January 21, 2019, the European Union sanctioned Samer Foz, Aman Damascus, and 14 other individuals and entities for using their ties with the Syrian regime for their own financial benefit, the treasury department statement said.

Foz-owned ASM International General Trading and its affiliates throughout the Middle East were also included in the sanctions. ASM is involved in grain and sugar trade, and oil field operations.

“Samer Foz, his relatives, and his business empire have leveraged the atrocities of the Syrian conflict into a profit-generating enterprise,” Sigal Mandelker, undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, said in a statement. The department said it was also sanctioning Synergy SAL and BS Company, which have imported tens of thousands of metric tons of Iranian oil into Syria.

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