JEDDAH – A supervisor and his assistant in one of the commercial banks in Jeddah have been charged with money laundering for helping foreign nationals transfer funds worth SR2.5 million outside the Kingdom without ascertaining their source, Al-Watan newspaper reported quoting an informed source.
The source added that bank employees had spotted the supervisor receiving the suspects at in his office and meeting with them time to time. During interrogation by the competent authorities the supervisor explained that he knew the foreigners for a long period.
The source confirmed that the suspects had transferred about SR500,000 in the first transaction. When the supervisor was questioned why he had allowed the transfer without verifying the source of the funds, he said the money was from some transaction the foreigners had completed in the Kingdom and that they had come to his branch because they were in the country on visit visas and had problems in repatriating their money through legal channels. The supervisor said that he was in fact doing them a favor and that he did not know their residential address in Saudi Arabia.
The administrative secretary at the bank’s branch confirmed that he had communicated with the branch employees via the bank’s email account circulars issued by the senior management with regard to transactions that fall under money laundering. He said the bank’s general manager had recently sent an email with an attachment of a local newspaper report that said 65 people were implicated in 42 cases related to money laundering.
The email was titled “Caution by God, I had told you” and warned the bank employees about the dangers of falling into such traps.
A bank official said he had visited bank’s branch in south Jeddah as part of an investigation and had questioned the staff. He confirmed that he had found descrepancies in the transfer of founds worth SR2 million.
He said he had concluded from his investigations that the branch supervisor and his secretary had gone out of the way to help the foreigners transfer funds from unknown sources outside the country, which is tantamount to money laundering.