Non-Saudis can't handle SME money transactions

Jeddah: Arab News

Published — Saturday 8 December 2012

Last update 8 December 2012 1:27 am

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A number of banks have refrained from dealing with foreigners handling financial transactions of private institutions, according to banking sources.
These financial institutions are listed now as “Saudi citizens,” which means non–Saudis cannot manage their owners’ accounts.
Transactions, such as depositing cash and checks in the accounts of these institutions and transfer of funds, should be undertaken only by an authorized Saudi employee. The aim of this procedure is to avoid manipulations during such transactions.
The Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency (SAMA) started cracking down on the procedure after discovering that some banks have breached this provision. As a result, these banks faced problems relating to money laundering and the introduction of illegal amounts through the accounts of private institutions.
“The instructions of SAMA emphasizes the fact that the authorized person of a financial transaction of individual SMEs should be a Saudi citizen. Transactions as such should be treated as the individual accounts that bans foreigners from managing them,” said Talat Hafez, general secretary of Media and Banking Awareness Committee of Saudi Banks.
He said that the instructions ban non-Saudis from dealing with the accounts of private institutions for legal reasons. But, he added, they can get an authorization for the accounts of major institutions on condition the person has a valid iqama with the sponsorship of the same institution.
Some banks suffered from manipulation of cases by non-Saudis working in those institutions. This has led to the possibility of being fined.
Other banking sources said they are not familiar with such instructions. They pointed out that the role of banks is to document the personal data of the depositor, adding that 90 percent of the representatives of these institutions are non–Saudis.

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