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Suleiman Marouf is a Syrian businessman who has been called Bashar al-Assad’s “fixer.”
Even as Syria’s civil war raged, he bought property and carried out luxury shopping assignments for the Syrian president and his wife Asma, shipping items worth tens of thousands of dollars to the country, according to investigations by the Guardian based on the Panama Papers.
In 2012, Marouf, who lived in London, was sanctioned by the European Union for his association with the Assad family and other Syrian entities and individuals. As reported by the Guardian, these associations allegedly included his ownership stakes in Addounia TV, a sanctioned Syrian media outlet, and in Cham Holding, Syria’s largest company, in which he partners with Rami Makhlouf, the Syrian president’s cousin. The sanctions were lifted 19 months later due to lack of evidence.
In addition to his shopping trips for the Assads, the Panama Papers exposed Marouf’s corporate footprint and his ownership of multiple companies incorporated in the British Virgin Islands. He reportedly used some of these companies to purchase luxury real estate throughout London worth millions of euros.
Property and residency data compiled by assorted real estate professionals provided to C4ADS and shared with OCCRP shows that Marouf has been connected to at least three Dubai properties estimated to be worth almost US$ 2 million.
Two are located in the Jumeirah Beach Residences, a series of buildings that overlook million-dollar yachts in the city’s Marina.
The third is located on the “trunk” of Palm Jumeirah, the world’s largest artificial island.
Marouf did not respond to requests for comment.
This story is part of the Global Anti-Corruption Consortium, a collaboration started by OCCRP and Transparency International. For more information, click here.