Ihab Makhlouf

Born in : 1973

Jurisdiction: Businessman

Businessman Iyhab Makhluf was born in 1973. He is the son of the corrupt Muhammad Makhluf, who is the brother of Anisah Makhluf, wife of Hafez al-Assad. Iyhab is the brother of the corrupt Rami Makhluf, the criminal Hafez Makhluf, and Iyad Makhluf. He is also the cousin of the killers Bashar and Maher al-Assad. This family sends its sons into the army or the economy. Iyhab chose the latter, and became one of the economic facades of the regime by investing the capital of the Syrian people, which had been looted by the Assad family, the Makhluf family, and others.

Iyhab Makhluf is a founder and owner of the following companies:

  • Founder of the Islamic Company for Mediation and Financial Services.
  • Founding partner in Peshawar for Investment (with a 99.8% stake).
  • Founding partner in Bunyan al-Sham (with a 10% stake).
  • Manager and founding partner in Ama-Nour (with a 50% stake).
  • Founding partner in Suruh (with one share worth a 0.001% stake).
  • Founding partner in the Private Syrian University for Sciences and Technology (with a 51% stake).
  • Founding partner in Fajr Company (with a 40% stake). He also directs Hani Murtada University (named after the father of Mazen Murtada).
  • Founding partner in Syriatel for Services and Investments (originally with a 2% stake, though it recently became clear that he holds a 14% stake), and Hadaeq for Investments (with a 14% stake).
  • Founding partner in Hadaeq for Investments (with a 52% stake).
  • Manager and owner of Al-Ghmar Company (with a 100% stake).

Iyhab Makhluf was also Vice CEO of Aqilah for Insurance, mentioned in the file of businessman Mazen Murtada.

Of course, all of the above are companies that belong to the Makhluf family, since Iyhab Makhluf is known to be the right hand man of Rami Makhluf. Iyhab[1] is a part of the financial empire, a portion of which was uncovered through Swiddleaks, which leaked documents pertaining to HSBC bank accounts in Switzerland. These documents revealed that the bank violated the ordinary client relationship with Rami Makhluf, managing certain funds on behalf of the Makhluf family despite the sanctions imposed upon them. These files also exposed the dealings of Makhluf family proxies with an Israeli-Polish businessman, Fredy Zinger, who is resident in Israel, and his Israeli wife Luria Zinger. This arrangement was designed to manage the companies of the Makhluf family in European states, the United States, and other countries.[2]

At the same time, the Makhluf family – including Iyhab – owns certain companies in the British Virgin Islands managed by one Rosemary Flax.[3] The documents gathered by al-‘Arabi al-Jadid reveal that Rosemary has been the faux manager of a number of companies since the imposition of sanctions on Rami in 2008 and the rest of the Makhluf siblings in 2011. These companies are Cara Corporation, Hoxim Lane Management Corp, Butler Investment Inc., Seadale International Corporation, and Luri Limited. Her name appeared within family trusts in these Swiss bank accounts. An author for al-‘Arabi al-Jadid acquired original documents from the British Virgin Islands, in which these companies were listed as the property of the father, Muhammad Makhluf, his wife Ghada Mihna, and his sons: Rami, who presented himself in the bank’s official register as a businessman and advisor to the Syrian Ministry of Industry; Hafez, who presented himself as a government employee while he worked as the head of a State Security branch of the Syrian secret police (Khatib branch), and then in the State Security administration; Iyad, who presented himself as a Captain in the Syrian Arab Army; and Iyhab, who is considered the right-hand man of Rami. Iyhab manages the Syrian Free Markets Company on behalf of Rami, who removed his name from the company due to the sanctions upon him.

The Makhluf family, and behind them the Assad family, were not active in Syria alone. They also participated directly in smuggling between Lebanon and Syria. Iyhab Makhluf smuggles professionally and in person through official crossings between Syria and Lebanon, avoiding customs duties. We note here that an incident reported in the Lebanese al-Akhbar newspaper – which is loyal to the regime – proves this.[4]

Iyhab Makhluf has even benefitted from the rise in the value of the U.S. dollar relative to the Syrian pound in recent years. He has 200 currency exchange offices working for him in the city of Damascus,[5] whereas the Syrian people has paid the cost of this in blood.

Despite the European and U.S. sanctions[6] imposed on the Makhluf family – including Iyhab – and the Assad family, these two families continue to engage in crimes against the Syrian people. The Makhluf family manages capital pillaged from the Syrian people, while the Assad family kills the Syrian people using the army, which has been funded from Syrians’ pockets since its establishment. Rami Makhluf’s claim that Syria’s security is Israel’s security – meaning that it is in Israel’s security interest for Assad to remain in place – constitutes the basis for the global deal to keep Assad in place.



Files leaked pertaining to the financial dealings of the Makhluf family published by al-‘Arabi al-Jadeed.

[1] Al-‘Arabi al-Jadid: https://goo.’gl/rNrFsA

[2] Ibid.

[3] Arab reporters for investigative journalism, “The Secret Empire of al-Assad’s Maternal Family,” https://en.arij.net/report/the-secret-empire-of-al-assads-maternal-family

[4] Al-Akhbar, https://al-akhbar.com/Syria/28135

[5] YouTube: Muhammad Fares Mansur – former media advisor in Makhluf’s companies: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZbV9ASa54r4

[6] U.S. sanctions on Iyhab, Rami, and others: https://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/sanctions/OFAC-Enforcement/Pages/20170516.aspx