People walk past illuminated buildings on Burj Plaza in downtown Dubai, with in the background Burj Khalifa tower (L) and the Address Downtown Dubai tower (R), on March 24, 2014 during the Dubai Festival of Lights. (AFP PHOTO/KARIM SAHIB)
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While differences remain intractable at home in Syria, an open-door policy in Dubai has seen competitors and even adversaries operate side by side, even spurring growth and helping to reverse the tide of the emirate's economic downturn.Other high-ranking regime officials also confirmed to be operating from Dubai include Suleiman Maarouf, the head of pro-regime media Addounia TV and personal friend of Assad, and Iyad Ghazal, the former Homs governor who was ranked 14 out of the 100 richest Arab businessmen by Arabian Business in 2010 .The UAE central bank has asked financial institutions to investigate funds or investments by top Syrian officials, in line with EU and Arab League sanctions, but business intelligence sources told The Daily Star that banking secrecy laws and laundering of funds through family members and affiliates made fund tracing and recovery difficult.On the other hand, some Syrian businessmen relocated after finding themselves targeted by the regime, having their assets frozen at home and being charged under terrorism laws for funding the opposition. Among the more high profile figures to make a quiet move to Dubai was former Foreign Ministry spokesman Jihad Makdissi, who left Syria in 2013 .
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