Saudi Arabia arrests 32 in $3 billion fraud ring

Five people were arrested while trying to deposit 9.8 million riyals in cash at an unnamed bank

Saudi Arabia on Wednesday arrested thirty-two people for a massive 11.6 billion riyal fraud ($3bn) scheme.

Seven businessmen, twelve bankers, a police officer, five Saudi citizens and two foreign residents were charged with bribery, forgery, exploiting their jobs for illegal financial gain, money laundering and other crimes, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

Five other people were arrested in the act of trying to deposit 9.8 million riyals in cash at an unnamed bank.

The Oversight and Anti-Corruption Authority and Saudi Central Bank started the investigation following a tip-off about bank employees receiving bribes from a group of residents and businessmen for depositing large sums of cash and transferring them outside the Kingdom.

A businessman hired an expatriate in exchange for a monthly payment, while other businessmen launched a number of fake commercial entities; some even opened entities under their family members’ names.

This helped them open bank accounts, which were used as a means to deposit large cash sums and transfer them abroad with the help of bank employees, including a bank manager who was involved in the fraud scheme by facilitating financial payments and creating fake accounts for residents in exchange for money and gifts, according to authorities.

A police officer was paid 300,000 riyal by a businessman to cover up the suspicious financial operations and a further 4m was paid to citizens colluding to stall the case with the prosecutors.

Saudi Arabia’s anti-corruption efforts are a part of ongoing reforms under Saudi Vision 2030, to fight and uproot financial and administrative corruption in all its forms and strengthen transparency.