SR16 billion in dirty money as 30 people arrested in Saudi Arabia

A source said that 30 suspects of various nationalities — including Saudis — were arrested

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The Saudi Penal Court is looking into seven cases of money laundering involving around SR16 billion.

A source said that 30 suspects of various nationalities — including Saudis — were arrested. But 15 of them were released after thorough investigation.

“The court reported that one of the money-laundering cases involving SR2 billion will be looked into next month. Another case, involving money laundering of SR8 billion, includes nine suspects, two of them are businessmen and seven of them are local banks employees,” said the source.

The source also said the Court of Appeals is looking into a sentence issued by the Penal Court.

“The sentence includes the imprisonment of a suspect after he was proven guilty. The man was found having illegally earned SR2 billion in his bank account. The Penal Court sentenced the man to six years in prison and fined him SR3 million,” said the source.

The man, who was also banned from travel for six years after his release from prison, appealed the sentence which is being reviewed by the Court of Appeals.

The Penal Court will be looking into another case involving money laundering of SR2 billion and another case involving SR7 billion in the coming weeks.

The source said that money-laundering suspects used fake bank accounts registered as commercial accounts belonging to various companies.

The Penal Court found out that large sums of money were being transferred through these accounts.

Lawyer Majid Qaroub said transferring large sums of money to accounts outside the Kingdom is a form of money laundering. Covering up for corporations and businesses obtaining money illegally is also a form of money laundering.

The Kingdom is complying with the recommendations of the Middle East and North Africa Financial Task Force, said Qaroub.

He said money laundering is a crime that leads to imprisonment and fines. The culprit can be sentenced to a minimum of two years in prison and a maximum of 15 years. The culprit can also be fined a minimum of SR1 million and a maximum of SR15 million.

This article was first published by Saudi Gazette on November 20, 2016.