Saudi Arabia arrests diplomats, Bangladeshis in recruitment scam

The arrestees include Bangladeshi resident Mohammed Nasser Uddin Noor, the owner of a recruitment office

Published : 5 March 2023, 07:04 PM
Updated : 5 March 2023, 07:04 PM

Saudi Arabia’s Oversight and Anti-Corruption Authority has arrested several diplomats and Bangladeshis as part of an investigation into a scam involving investment in the kingdom, recruitment of foreign workers and money laundering.

The Authority, also known as Nazaha, first arrested two interior ministry employees on charges of forcing a resident to sign a deal with a foreign investor in exchange for bribes from the investor, the local media reported.

Upon further investigation, Nazaha said, arrested Bangladeshi residents in Saudi Arabia, Ashraf Uddin Aknad, Almgeer Hussain Khan and Shfeeq Alislam Shah Jahan, reported the Arab News.

The arrests include Bangladeshi resident Mohammed Nasser Uddin Noor, the owner of a recruitment office in his home country, and several Saudi citizens “for their involvement in illegal visa trading and money smuggling outside the Kingdom”.

Nazaha said that they admitted to engaging in illegal visa trading with the complicity of employees of the Saudi embassy in Bangladesh.

The Authority found more than 20 million riyals in cash, gold ingots, and luxury vehicles in their homes, which turned out to be the proceeds of illegally selling work visas in the kingdom.

As the investigation unfolded, Nazaha arrested Abdullah Falah Mudhi Al-Shammar, former deputy ambassador currently working as the head of the consular section at the Saudi Embassy in Bangladesh, and Deputy Head of the Consular Section at the embassy Khaled Nasser Ayed Al-Qahtani.

They were arrested for their complicity with Bangladeshi national Nasser Uddin and for receiving 54 million riyals in instalments while working at the embassy in exchange for finalising the issuances of work visas.

“They acknowledged receiving parts of the money from the arrested residents inside Saudi Arabia and invested the rest outside the Kingdom,” the Authority said.

Nazaha said that it would continue to pursue anyone who exploited public office to achieve personal gain or harm the public interest in any way, and that accountability extended far beyond the retirement of individuals as these types of crimes had no statute of limitations.