Syrian magnate denies buying ISIL oil
DAMASCUS - The Associated PressA Syrian businessman facing European Union sanctions denied on March 10 allegations that he bought oil from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) for President Bashar Assad's government.
The EU put sanctions last week on George Haswani and six other prominent Syrian businessmen, freezing their assets and banning them from traveling to Europe. It also froze the assets of six companies also viewed as sponsors of the Syrian government.
Speaking to The Associated Press in his Damascus office, Haswani said the EU sanctions and accusations are politically motivated and said he is preparing to take unspecified legal action against the EU.
"There is no doubt that this unjust and political decision is not based on any evidence and I challenge them to put forward any proof or document that proves the reason behind the decision," he said. "This decision will lead to legal repercussions and the company and its reputation will be harmed, as well as its business. This is targeted damage for political reasons."
The EU said in its official journal that Haswani, co-owner of HESCO Engineering and Construction Co., a major engineering and construction company in Syria, has close ties to the government. It said he acts as "a middle man in deals for the purchase of oil from ISIL by the Syrian regime."