The Standing Committee for Combating Money Laundering has affirmed that money laundering crimes pose a serious threat to the economic and social aspects of any country in the world, especially those suffering from weak measures adopted in combating such crimes.
According to the Standing Committee, money laundering is resulted when money launderers try to legitimize the funds resulting from other crimes (known as the original Crimes), including all offenses and crimes committed within the Kingdom, also any act committed outside the Kingdom, if it is considered a crime in accordance with the laws of the relevant State, as well as in accordance with the laws or regulations of Saudi Arabia, if the offense is committed insides the Kingdom.
The Standing Committee has pointed out that the spread of money laundering in any society leads to an increase in crime rates, and the decline of education and culture values , because of the rapid profit which does not require an academic qualification. Money laundering, in any country, may lead to the crime of commercial concealment, resulting in the decline of economic growth, and high inflation rates, which may lead to high prices. This would affect fair competition and various business activities.
Money Laundering Crime is considered a major offense that necessitates arresting and capturing. The concerned authorities deal strictly with anyone who attempts or conceals the sources of the money gained or the money resulted from illegal activities, as per the law and regulations, such as: illegal trading in drugs and weapons, money counterfeiting and other crimes. Notably, the money to be laundered and concealed its sources is not limited to cash, but includes assets, property and economic resources of whatever value, type or manner of ownership, where these funds are called (gained money), if they arise directly or indirectly from committing a crime.
It is worth mentioning that convicting a person of money laundering crime has no relation of convicting him of committing an original crime, such as the illegal trade in drugs.
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has imposed severe penalties against money launderers. Therefore, if a person is convicted of money laundering, he will be subject to a fine of up to seven million riyals and 15- year imprisonment, or both. Also, a Saudi convicted of money laundering shall be prohibited from traveling outside the Kingdom for a period similar to the sentenced imprisonment time. A non-Saudi, convicted of money laundering, shall be deported from the Kingdom, after the execution of the sentence. The penalty of money laundering could be commuted if the perpetrator informs the competent authorities of the crime before they are aware of it, or he has reported about the money launders, and his report leads to their arrest or seizure of the funds relevant to such crime.
It is noteworthy that the Standing Committee for Combating Money Laundering, which is chaired by SAMA, includes representatives from the Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Commerce and Investment, Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Labor and Social Development, Ministry of Islamic Affairs, Call and Guidance, Head of State Security, Public Prosecution , Head of General Intelligence, Capital Market Authority. The said Standing Committee was formed in accordance with the Cabinet's decision, which stipulated the implementation of the 40 recommendations for combating money laundering, issued by the Financial Action Group (FATF), based on the regulations in force in the Kingdom. This group is assigned the task for taking the necessary steps and measures for the implementation and following up of the said recommendations, besides studying and considering all issues related to combating money laundering in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.