Reuters International

PARIS (Reuters) - A French judge earlier this month put an uncle of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad under formal investigation for tax fraud and money-laundering, a source close to the case said on Tuesday.

Suspected of having acquired his wealth in France illegally, Rifaat al-Assad, an opponent of his nephew's regime, was put under investigation on June 9 after an interrogation with a French financial judge, the source said. He was also banned from leaving France apart from trips to London for health reasons.

Two anti-corruption associations filed complaints against him in 2013, and the following year, French authorities began looking into whether there was evidence of corruption, bribery and money-laundering.

His lawyer declined to comment. At time the complaint was filed, people close to him said his wealth did not come from Syria.

(Reporting by Chine Labbe; writing by Leigh Thomas)

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