Stock Saudi Riyadh skyline
The Saudi Ministry of Commerce has defamed three citizens and two expats of Egyptian nationality for violating the Anti-Commercial Concealment Law. The citizens enabled the expats to run a fast food restaurant in Riyadh. Image Credit: AFP

Dubai: The Saudi Ministry of Commerce has defamed three citizens and two expats of Egyptian nationality, following the issuance of a court ruling convicted them of violating the Anti-Commercial Concealment Law. The three citizens have been enabling the expats to run a fast food restaurant and an establishment for selling meat in Riyadh.

The ministry has published a summary of the judicial ruling issued by the Criminal Court in Riyadh, including a fine against the violators of SR400,000, closing the facility, liquidation of the trade activity, canceling the license, writing off the commercial registration and preventing the owners in practicing the same trade activity, payment of zakat, fees and taxes, and deporting the expats from the Kingdom with the caveat of not being allowed to return for work, besides defamation by publishing the verdict in a local newspaper at the expense of the violators.

The ministry of commerce inspection teams received a tip about a suspected case of cover-up (Tasattur) business in Manfouha district, in Riyadh. After carrying out the necessary investigations, the case of commercial concealment was proved.

The inspectors seized material evidences showing agreements, contracts and deals to import items by the expats. The expats were practicing illegal trade activity, and were running the establishment as if they were the owners. Therefore, the case was referred to the concerned authorities for taking legal measures and imposing penalties against the violators in accordance with the Anti-Commercial Concealment Law.

Shadow economy

Notably, the new system for combating the commercial concealment, which was recently approved by the Council of Ministers, relied on mechanisms that contribute to eliminate the sources of commercial concealment and put an end for the shadow economy.

The new law includes heavy penalties of up to five-year imprisonment, a fine of up to five million riyals, seizure and confiscation of the illegal funds of the violators, after final court rulings were issued against them, in addition to other penalties, including closing the facility, liquidation of the trade activity, cancelling the commercial registry and preventing the convicted person from practicing any economic activity for a period of five years, besides deporting the expats from the Kingdom, and not being allowed to return for work.

The Ministry of Commerce receives reports and complaints about commercial concealment through the Ministry’s Consumer Call Center (1900), or through the application of a Commercial Violation Report, or via the Ministry’s website. Notably, the Ministry grants a financial reward to the informer of up to 30 per cent of the total fines after collection, which may reach to five million riyals against each violator.