Court and Crime Gavel
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Abu Dhabi: The Saudi Ministry of Commerce has named and shamed two men - one French and the other Lebanese - after they were convicted of business licensing fraud, local media reported.

“The French man was found guilty of enabling the Lebanese resident to run a construction business in Riyadh through a trade licence registered in the name of the French,” according to court records.

The ministry has published a summary of the judicial ruling issued by the Criminal Court in Riyadh, shutting down the firm, liquidating its activities and revoking its license.

The court ruling also cancelled the commercial register of the business, collecting zakat, fees and taxes.

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.

The system also allows commuting or exempting from penalties for those who report any fraudulent activities.