Rifaat Assad in Marbella, Spain, May 27, 2005. (AP/Paul White)
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French authorities have seized private mansions, offices and a horse stud farm belonging to an uncle of Syrian President Bashar Assad, suspected of having acquired the properties with embezzled funds, a source close to the case told AFP Friday.Rifaat Assad, 78, who commanded Syria's notorious internal security forces in the 1970s and early 1980s, had been charged in June with corruption for allegedly receiving embezzled public funds and tax fraud.In the probe, investigators estimated that he and his family amassed 90 million euros ($100 million) worth of real estate in France, mainly through companies registered in Luxembourg, between 1984 and 1988 .
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