AP Interview: Syrian Businessman Sanctioned by EU Denies Smuggling Islamic State Group's Oil

A Syrian businessman facing European Union sanctions denied on Tuesday allegations that he bought oil from the Islamic State group for President Bashar Assad's government. The EU put sanctions last week on George Haswani and six other prominent Syrian businessmen, freezing their assets and banning them from traveling to Europe. It also froze the assets of six companies also viewed as sponsors of the Syrian government. Speaking to The Associated Press in his Damascus office, Haswani said the EU sanctions and accusations are politically motivated and said he is preparing to take unspecified legal action against the EU. The EU said in its official journal that Haswani, co-owner of HESCO Engineering and Construction Co., a major engineering and construction company in Syria, has close ties to the government.