Syrian tycoon Makhlouf says security forces are arresting his employees

AMMAN (Reuters) – Sanctions-hit Syrian tycoon Rami Makhlouf on Sunday said that security forces are arresting employees at his diversified companies in what he said were “mounting pressures” on him days after Syrian authorities asked him to repay hefty taxes.

“Today pressures began in an unacceptable ways and the security forces, in an inhumane way, are arresting our employees,” Makhlouf said in a video.

Makhlouf, a maternal cousin of President Bashar al-Assad and widely considered part of the president’s inner circle, has a business empire that ranges from telecoms and real estate to construction and oil trading. He had played a big role in financing Assad’s war effort, Western officials have said.

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