Abu Dhabi: A Saudi businessman and two expatriates were jailed a total of more than 16 years after they were convicted of money laundering and business licensing fraud, a court ruled.
The Saudi man was found guilty of enabling two men from an African country to run two businesses and use them for money laundering, according to court records.
The trio was also fined SR168,000 and SR739,990,495 were confiscated, the court ruled.
The citizen was also banned from traveling for a period similar to his jail term.
Moreover, he was banned from practicing commercial activity for five years, while the accomplices were ordered to be deported after serving their term.
The court also ordered the commercial records be canceled, the zakat, taxes and fees owed jointly between the convicts collected, and the verdict published in two local newspapers.
A legal action was also ordered to track funds smuggled abroad, the court ruled.
Saudi Arabia has tightened penalties for business licensing fraud, also known as Tasattur or cover-ups, in which foreign nationals owning businesses in the kingdom, while using the names of Saudi citizens.
A new anti-business licensing fraud regime passed by the Saudi Cabinet, seeks to eliminate the shadow economy and includes tough penalties for offenders of up to 5 years in prison and a fine of up to SR5 million.
A ministerial committee was set up to take on commercial fraud and propose solutions to bring down its impact.
The committee will take aim at activities such as foreign nationals owning businesses in the kingdom while using the names of Saudi citizens.