Riyadh, the capital of Saudi Arabia. Image Credit: Agencies

Dubai: A massive corruption scheme worth 11.5 billion riyals involving bank officials and businessmen has been uncovered by Saudi anti-graft authorities, local media reported.

The Anti-Corruption Authority (Nazaha) on Wednesday said it launched an investigation in cooperation with the Saudi Central Bank after receiving information about some bank employees receiving bribes from an organised gang in the Kingdom. The gang consists of expatriate residents, citizens and businessmen who deposit cash sums from unknown sources and transfer them outside the Kingdom.

The two entities examined the bank accounts of commercial entities involving in the illegal transactions and found out that 11.5 billion riyals were transferred outside the Kingdom.

Five expatriate residents were arrested while heading to a bank to deposit over 9.78 million riyals in cash. The authority’s officials also apprehended seven businessmen, 12 bank employees, and a non-commissioned officer involved in the corruption scandal.

The authority also nabbed five Saudis and two expats for their involvement in bribery, forgery, and exploiting their positions for illicit financial gain, commercial fraud and money laundering.

One of the businessmen involved in the corruption case set up a number of fake commercial entities under his name and the name of his wife and son. He later opened bank accounts, enabling residents to use them in exchange for a monthly payment.

The accounts were used by residents to deposit cash sums from unknown sources and transfer them abroad with the collusion of bank employees in exchange for receiving money and gifts.

The businessman paid 300,000 riyals to a non-commissioned officer in a police department in exchange for stalling his case that involved suspicious financial dealings, and paid 4 million riyals to Saudi mediators to stall the same case with the Public Prosecution.

Five businessmen established a number of fake commercial entities and opened bank accounts that were intentionally meant to be used in the fraud.

The case also involved a bank branch’s manager who established a number of fake commercial entities and opened bank accounts.