Saudi anti-corruption authority arrests 32 over $3 billion transfer

Saudi anti-corruption authority arrests 32 over $3 billion transfer
2 min read
28 January, 2021
Saudi Arabia's anti-graft authority and Central Bank reportedly uncovered a multi-billion-dollar money laundering scheme.
Saudi Arabia has seen a rise in anti-graft activity in recent years [Getty]
Saudi authorities have arrested 32 people linked to the investigation into an illegaly international transfer of 11.6 billion Saudi riyals ($3.1 billion) out of the kingdom. 

The swoop follows an investigation by the kingdom's Oversight and Anti-Corruption Authority (Nazaha) and the Saudi Central Bank (SAMA), which found that businessmen and residents had bribed bank employees to carry large amounts of money out of the country.

The cash deposited by the bank employees came from unknown sources, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

Among those arrested were five people who attempted to deposit 9.8 million riyals ($2,612,681) at a bank.

Seven businessmen, 12 bank staff, and a police officer were also arrested for alleged bribery, fraud, and exploiting their positions and money laundering, Nazaha said.

Saudi authorities under the leadership of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman have stepped up anti-graft efforts in recent years.

The self-described corruption clampdown launched in 2017 caught international attention when hundreds of elite princes, ministers and businessmen detained at the luxury Ritz-Carlton hotel in the capital Riyadh.

Many were held there for weeks and most were subsequently released after agreeing to significant financial settlements. Authorities said they recovered more than 400 billion Saudi riyals ($107 billion).

The anti-graft sweep led by Prince Mohammed has been labelled by many critics as a shakedown and a power grab.

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