Subscribe to FDD

Rami Makhlouf

Position: Businessman; Owner of Syriatel

Sanctions: US (February 21, 2008) & EU (September 5, 2011)

On February 21, 2008, the United States sanctioned Makhlouf, a prominent businessman and owner of Syriatel, for “disadvantaging innocent Syrian businessmen and entrenching a regime that pursues oppressive and destabilizing politics.”[1]

Rami’s brother Hafez heads the Damascus branch of the General Intelligence Directorate, and his father Mohamed is allegedly a “primary economic advisor” to the Assad family. According to The New York Times, Makhlouf is the Assad family’s personal banker, and is believed to be the most powerful businessman in Syria, with interests in “real estate, transport, banking, insurance, construction and tourism…from a five-star hotel in Damascus to duty-free shops at airports and the border.”[2]

The European Union sanctioned Makhlouf on May 9, 2011, alleging that he “bankrolls the regime allowing violence against demonstrators.”[3]

[1]“Rami Makhluf Designated for Benefiting from Syrian Corruption,” U.S. Department of the Treasury, February 21, 2008.                                    (

[2]Anthony Shadid, “Rami Makhlouf Becomes Magnet for Syrian Dissent,” The New York Times, April 30, 2011.                                             (

[3]The Council of the European Union, “Council Decision 2011/273/CFSP of 9 May 2011 Concerning Restrictive Measures against Syria,” Official Journal of the European Union, October 5, 2011, p. 121/14.                                                                                                                                        (