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Syria: Rami Makhlouf Attacks War Profiteers

Syria: Rami Makhlouf Attacks War Profiteers

Thursday, 1 July, 2021 - 08:00
A screenshot of Rami Makhlouf from his Facebook page (Reuters)

Syrian businessman and cousin of President Bashar al-Assad Rami Makhlouf attacked war profiteers, saying they are devising “diabolical plans” to take over everything in Syria.

Makhlouf plans to attend the meeting to elect the new board of directors of Syriatel Mobile Telecom, of which he owned most of the shares. He indicated that he would publish a new video if he wasn’t arrested after attending the meeting.

In the newly released video on his Facebook page, Makhlouf explained that the judicial custody currently controlling Syriatel wants to sue the former management of the company and elect a new board of directors.

Makhlouf accused “war profiteers” who took control over the mobile company of “stealing subscribers' money”, adding that Syriatel employees were fired because they belong to or have ties with the opposition. A number of employees were also let go because they are from areas that aren't under the regime’s control, according to Makhlouf.

The video came in response to released information that Syriatel increased its revenues after Rami Makhlouf was dismissed.

The company announced its revenues for the first five months of 2021 which amounted to about 145 billion, compared to 77 billion in previous years.

Makhlouf said that the new management believes this to be “a matter of returning the people’s looted money,” noting that the increase in revenues happens in two ways, either through offers or raising prices, neither of which happened during the last period.

He indicated that only experts could reveal how people's money was looted, however, anyone who audits Syriatel will be arrested.

Makhlouf also hinted at Iran's unwillingness to contribute to the financing of the third telecom operator in Syria, which the Ministry of Communications intends to launch.

The Ministry of Internal Trade and Consumer Protection announced at the end of May its decision to ratify the statute of Wafa Telecom to be the third operator of mobile phones in Syria, but the Ministry of Communications quickly denied that it had obtained the license.

Cellular communications in Syria are monopolized by the two companies Syriatel, which was owned by Makhlouf, and MTN, which has joint Lebanese and Syrian owners.

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