Damascus: Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s wife Asma could face a two-year prison sentence for spending tens of thousands of pounds on lavish accessories, as her online shopping sprees may have broken financial sanctions imposed on her husband.
A trove of e-mails received and sent by Assad and his wife showed that Assad splashed out on more than 10,000-pounds worth of candlesticks, tables and chandeliers from Paris and instructed an aide to order a fondue set from Amazon as many Syrians faced food shortages and other hardships.
The shopping spree could land her into trouble because her husband appears as number one on a list of 114 Syrians subjected to European Union financial sanctions, The Sydney Morning Herald reports.
These measures, imposed on Syrian officials held responsible for “brutal repression”, freeze any assets owned by targeted individuals in EU member states.
They prohibit EU citizens making "funds or economic resources" available to anyone named on the list.
According to the report, if Asma has retained her British citizenship, she would risk breaking the law by purchasing an asset for the benefit - whether direct or indirect - of her husband.
Holding dual Syrian-British nationality would make no difference.
Only if she has formally renounced her British citizenship, or if she could demonstrate that the items were exclusively for her benefit, would she be exempt from prosecution.
First Published: Saturday, March 17, 2012, 16:22