The battle to freeze Bashar al-Assad’s assets is on, with banks in the UK and Switzerland moving to freeze assets that the Syrian president and his allies hold in the country.
Unfortunately what has been recovered so far may just be the tip of the iceberg.
Business intelligence firm Alaco told the Guardian that assets held by Assad and relatives and friends is probably in the region of $1 billion to $1.5 billion, and stored in tax haven islands and other holdings in Russia and Hong Kong.
That figure, of course, doesn’t take into account the fact that Assad’s inner circle controlled around 60-70% of assets within Syria. Alaco explains that due to the country’s civil war, these assets will be difficult to liquidate.
The $1.5 billion figure shows the incredible wealth that autocrat leaders can build and keep hidden from the world. Forbes rarely includes world leaders on its wealth lists, for example, but recent estimates have put the wealth of Vladimir Putin as high as $70 billion (which would make him the richest person on earth).
Another incredible report said that Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi was worth $200 billion.
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