US imposes economics sanctions on prominent Syrian businessman

The United States on Thursday imposed economic sanctions against a prominent Syrian businessman as part of an effort to punish officials in Syria for alleged efforts to undermine the governments of Iraq and Lebanon. The Treasury Department said the sanctions would be imposed on Rami Makhluf, who was identified as a prominent Syrian businessman and regime insider. President George W. Bush last week signed an executive order that expanded penalties against senior government officials in Syria and their associates who are judged to have benefited from public corruption. The Treasury Department order freezes any assets that Makhluf holds in US financial institutions and prohibits US citizens and firms from engaging in any business contacts with him.