Former Syrian Ministers on Trial for Fraud over Airbus Deal
By Nabil Al Mulhem
A Syrian Economic Court has charged two former Syrian ministers with delibrate criminal acts regarding an Airbus deal, which "did not conform to the legal requirements,” according to the court statement quoted by Syrian News Agency (SANA) on Monday.
Former deputy prime minister for economic affairs Salim Yassin and former transport minister Mufid Abdel Karim, are to be tried in connection with an order for six Airbus 320-As made for the state-owned Syrian Arab Airlines at the end of 1996. Another suspect is the leading businessman, Munir Abu Khaddour, a Spaniard of a Syrian origin. Abu Khaddour is suspected to have acted as a middleman in the corrupt deal.
SANA said the suspects were charged Sunday with "abuse of power, taking decisions harmful to the national economy, and making personal profits for themselves and for others."
They will be tried according to the economic criminal law, which is virtually a martial law.
An arrest warrant was issued against Abu Khaddour, who faces the same charges and is currently on the run.
Meanwhile, charges against former prime minister Mahmoud Zu’bi, who committed suicide in May, were dropped due to his death, the agency said, adding that the airline "reserved the right to demand damages from his heirs."
Zu’bi committed suicide last May after he was accused of corruption.
The Airbus agreement "contained conditions that violated the relevant rules and laws, causing serious financial loss," the agency said.
In a previous report, a source close to Abu Khaddour quoted the businessman as denying the charges – Albawaba.com
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