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Cairo: Two expatriates have been referred to trial in Saudi Arabia on charges of money laundering worth SR2.4 million, an official source at the Saudi prosecution has said.

Investigations showed that the pair had possessed SR2.4 million in cash and deosited it into bank accounts belonging to commercial entities, concealing the origin of this money and its ownership, the source added.

It turned out that the money was an outcome of “crimes and violations” of several laws in the kingdom.

Investigations conducted by Saudi prosecutors handling economic crimes ended in charging the two expatriates with money laundering.

A lawsuit against them has been filed to the competent court backed up with evidence, the source said, adding that legal action will also be taken against the commercial entities involved in the case.

Neither the names nor nationalities of the two defendants were revealed.

In recent years, Saudi Arabia has stepped up anti-money laundering efforts and toughened related penalties.

Under Saudi law, money laundering is punishable by up to 15 years in prison and a maximum fine of SR7 million.

If the convict is a Saudi national, he/she is also barred from travelling outside the kingdom for a period equavlent to the given imprisonment term. The non-Saudi convict is deported from the country after serving the jail term.

Last week, Saudi prosecutors said an Asian expatriate had been caught trying to smuggle SR500,000 while leaving at an airport in the kingdom and was charged with money laundering.

The suspect had secretly hidden the cash in a suitcase as he tried to depart from the airport, an official source at prosecution said.

In 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.