Cairo: An Asian expatriate had been caught trying to smuggle out SR500,000 at an airport in Saudi Arabia, an official source at the kingdom’s prosecution has said.
The suspect had hidden the cash in a suitcase as he tried to depart from the airport, the source added.
Investigations showed that the money had been amassed as a result of “crimes and violations of a number of laws,” added the source without elaborating.
Economic Crimes Prosecution finalised the investigation with the accused on charges of money laundering, according to the source.
“He was arrested, given that the charges raised against him warrant arrest. He was referred to the competent court along with evidence backing up the charges,” the source said.
In recent years, Saudi Arabia has stepped up anti-money laundering efforts and toughened related penalties.
Last January, a Saudi court sentenced two Arab expatriates to six years in prison and ordered them pay a total of SR200,000 in fines after convicting them on money laundering.
The duo were charged with money laundering after they were found guilty of amassing fabulous money from unlawful practices with the aim of smuggling it to outside the country, a prosecution official source said at the time.
They were also accused of aiding the main culprit to beat the rap, the source added, without identifying the key defendant.
Both partners had been referred to court along with evidence. The court found them guilty and also ordered the confiscation of money seized with them estimated at SR3.3 million, and an unspecified cache of foreign currencies as well as revenues raked in from the crime, the official added.
A month earlier, three persons were handed down a total of 18 years in prison and fined SR500,000 on charges of money laundering in Saudi Arabia.
The three were identified as two Saudi men and an Arab expatriate.
Investigations in the case disclosed that the two Saudis had opened registers for commercial entities and bank accounts, and allowed the third to deposit huge sums of money of illegal origin and transfer them to outside the kingdom.
Investigators also found out that the commercial entities were used to cover up transfers of the illegal money.