Assad's uncle sentenced to four years in France for money laundering case

French judges sentenced Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad to four years in prison

The court ordered the confiscation of Rifat al-Assad's property in France as well as $ 29 million in London.

Assad, the 82-year-old former military commander, was tried in December, but did not appear in court for "health reasons," his lawyers said. He denied the allegations.

The case is known as "improper benefit" trials on members of foreign ruling families in France. The first is Todorin Obiang, the son of the president of Equatorial Guinea, who is appealing against corruption in 2017 and a three-year suspended sentence.

Assad has been under investigation in France since 2014 for being Hama's butcher in 1982, leading the forces following a brutal crush of insurgency in central Syria. He left Syria in 1984 after conducting an unsuccessful jump against his older brother Hafiz. The father of the current Syrian president, he ruled from 1971 to 2000.

Assad traveled to Europe with his four wives and 16 children and is said to be dividing his time between Paris and London.

His fortune includes two Parisian cities, 3,000 square meters (30,000 square feet), a stud farm, a chateau, and office space in Lyon. Prosecutors told the court that most of the assets were seized by offshore companies in Panama, Curacao, Liechtenstein, and Luxembourg.

Assad and his family are believed to have owned are 10 million Georgian mansion off Park Lane in central London and more than 500 properties in Spain. These were seized by Spanish authorities in 2017, and the Spanish High Court is pursuing 13 men accused of money laundering, saying they acted "in a concrete way" to conceal property acquisitions.

Assad has denied all the allegations, saying that the Saudi royal family has given him his share. His lawyers said Wednesday that he would appeal.

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