KUWAIT: A prominent Syrian businessman with close ties to Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad has been arrested in Kuwait, his lawyer said yesterday. Mazen Al-Tarazi was arrested late Monday at his offices, his lawyer Badr Al-Yacoub told AFP. He said that he did not yet know the reasons behind his client’s arrest. Local authorities did not immediately release the charges against Tarazi. But Kuwaiti newspaper Al-Qabas, citing unnamed informed sources, reported that the businessman is accused of money laundering and printing texts without authorization.

Tarazi, a longtime resident of Kuwait – which has the most press freedoms in the conservative Gulf – owns a publishing and advertising firm in partnership with a high-profile local businessman, Ahmad Al-Jarallah. Jarallah confirmed to AFP that police had raided his offices on Monday night and arrested Tarazi’s secretary and two Al-Hadaf magazine employees. Tarazi is on an EU blacklist of Syrian nationals who have been banned from entry to European states and whose assets have been frozen over their role in the Syria war. – AFP