Saudi Arabia Says 7 Businessmen Arrested for $3.1 Billion Scheme

Saudi authorities said they had arrested seven businessmen and 12 bank employees for a scheme that involved transferring 11.6 billion riyals ($3.1 billion) of unknown origin abroad.

A statement from the kingdom’s anti-corruption authority published by the official Saudi Press Agency said officials had foiled a “gang” of foreign residents, bank employees and businessmen that worked together “to deposit cash amounts of an unknown source and transfer them outside of the kingdom.” In addition to the businessmen and bank employees, authorities detained a police officer and several other citizens and foreign residents.

The men arrested were accused of bribery, forgery, exploiting their jobs for illegal financial gain, money laundering and other crimes, according to the statement. The statement did not provide their names.

The announcement came the same day the kingdom held its annual global investment summit, the Future Investment Initiative. The inaugural conference in 2017 was followed by a controversial anti-corruption campaign led by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who has pledged to root out graft in the country whatever its source. Saudi dissidents have accused him of using corruption allegations to undermine potential opponents and critics, a charge that officials have denied.

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