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Cairo: Saudi Arabia has set up a prosecution branch to handle cases of financial fraud in a step aimed to fast-track related procedures, Saudi media reported.

The Kingdom Attorney-General Saud Al Mojeb endorsed the establishment of the Prosecution for Financial Fraud Crimes, to be in charge of judicial anti-fraud procedures including interrogating suspects and filing relevant lawsuits at courts.

The attorney-general’s decree, establishing the anti-fraud prosecution, defines powers of this branch, including preservation of individuals’ and commercial entities’ rights, linking joint work among police, prosecution and courts into a specialised prosecution body to help expedite judicial procedures related to traditional and online financial fraud cases.

The anti-fraud prosecution will be manned by prosecutors specialised in handling such fraud crimes.

Under Saudi law, fraud is punishable by up to seven years in prison and a maximum fine of SR5 million.

The penalties are tougher in cases of involvement in food adulteration.

In August, Saudi authorities busted a racket of citizens charged with making fake offers for used cars online and raking in over SR6 million in illicit gains as a result, a prosecution official said at the time.

Last month, the kingdom’s public prosecution warned against trading in substandard food items, saying the practice is punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a maximum fine of SR10 million.

The prosecution said the convicted offender would also be banned from practicing any food business along with suspending or invalidating the licence.

Last August, a Saudi court convicted two expatriates of commercial fraud and sentenced them to three months in prison each and deportation from the kingdom, local media reported at the time.

The pair was charged with violating the kingdom’s anti-commercial fraud law after they were involved in turning their residence into a warehouse for rotten meat and food of unknown origin.