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EU to Blacklist Assad's Wife - Paper

RIA Novosti

11:59 20/03/2012 MOSCOW, March 20 (RIA Novosti) - Asma al-Assad, the wife of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, will be added to the EU sanctions list at a meeting of the EU foreign ministers on March 23, the Daily Telegraph reported on Tuesday, quoting diplomatic sources.

“A number of family members will be added to the list," one source said.

The individuals on the list are subject to asset freezes and a ban on entry into the EU.

However, the Syrian first lady cannot be banned from visiting the UK if she has retained her British citizenship, the Telegraph said.

The decision to blacklist Asma, 36, may stem from the recent publication of the first couple's e-mail correspondence by the Guardian newspaper.

An opposition group, the Supreme Council for the Leadership of the Syrian Revolution, reportedly intercepted the e-mails beginning last June.

They reveal that Asma shopped in Europe under an assumed name. The e-mails, for example, indicate she bought Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part II for her two older children.

If so, the purchases violated EU sanctions that froze "all funds and economic resources" belonging to "persons responsible for the violent repression against the civilian population or persons and entities associated with them," the Guardian said.

Sanctions against 46-year-old Bashar Assad were introduced on May 23 last year.

Asma was born into a family of Syrian immigrants originally from the city of Homs. She graduated the London School for Girls and then received degrees with honors in computer science and French literature at King's College London.

After graduation she worked at Deutsche Bank as a hedging specialist and in 1998 worked at J. P. Morgan specializing in mergers and acquisitions in the biotech and pharmaceutical sector.

After meeting Assad, she left business and returned to Syria. They married in December 2000. They have three children.



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