Saudi Arabia passes new anti-concealment law, including protection of whistleblowers

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Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Commerce confirmed the Kingdom’s new anti-concealment law that includes heavy penalties of jail time and fines, as well as the protection of whistleblowers.

Following cabinet approval on Wednesday, the new law stipulates up to five years in jail and fines of 5 million Saudi riyals for those who break the new law.

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The law, which was initially passed by the Kingdom’s Shura Council earlier last month, was created to “contribute to restricting the sources of concealment and eliminating the shadow economy,” according to the Ministry of Commerce.

The law establishes new mechanisms that will allow for the protection the identity and data of whistleblowers in concealment cases by not including them in the case files, and rewards whistleblowers with a percentage of up to 30 percent of the fine collected after the verdict is issued and has gained final status.

“The system stipulated proactive measures to prevent the occurrence of cover-up crimes to narrow the sources of this phenomenon by addressing the stages preceding the crime, and punishments, the most important of which is the seizure and confiscation of illegal funds for the perpetrators of the crime after final court rulings have been issued against them,” the ministry said in a statement carried by the Saudi Press Agency.

A day earlier, Saudi Arabia established a ministerial committee to combat commercial fraud and to develop solutions to eliminate the practice.

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