The General Court of the European Union (EU) rejected a Syrian businessman’s request for the lifting of his sanctions, ruling that he remained a major trading partner of the Syrian regime of Bashar Al-Assad.

In its recent ruling, the court said it had rejected Samer Foz’s request because “the EU had shown him to be an influential businessman operating in Syria, especially because of his involvement in the Marota City project” , referring to the urban development project. under construction west of Damascus on land previously inhabited by opposition elements.

The court added that on the whole, Foz “had not rebutted the presumption of a link with the Syrian regime”. In that decision, the EU General Court also dismissed the deregistration of Aman Dimashq, JSC, the joint venture responsible for construction projects, such as the Marota City project.

Meanwhile, two other Syrian businessmen – Bashar Assi and Khaldoun Al Zoubi – have been removed from the sanctions list due to an alleged lack of evidence of their status as prominent businessmen in Syria .

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The tribunal maintained its position that “Samer Foz provides financial and other support to the regime, including funding the military security shield forces in Syria and negotiating grain deals. It also benefits financially from access to business opportunities through the wheat trade and reconstruction projects as a result of its ties to the regime.

Although the EU has maintained its sanctions against Foz, the US Treasury this year lifted its own sanctions against two of the UAE-based businessman’s companies: ASM International Trading and Silverpine DMCC.

Foz is said to be one of the most prominent businessmen affiliated with the Assad regime, who is said to have succeeded disgraced businessman Rami Makhlouf in the past year. Foz and other businessmen, including local warlords such as Hussam Al-Qaterji, have benefited greatly from the ongoing conflict in Syria, even trading with Daesh over the years.

READ: Rami Makhlouf admits using shell companies to dodge sanctions against Assad regime