Banks seizing dormant accounts against Shariah

Updated 05 October 2012

Banks seizing dormant accounts against Shariah

JEDDAH: Shariah experts on financial matters declare that local banks are committing a crime by seizing the deposits in accounts that had not been accessed in the past five years.
The experts demand that agencies such as the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency (SAMA) take action against such violations of both Shariah principles and rules of international banking.
They made this demand while reacting to a recent media report that banks in the Kingdom seized the deposits in dormant accounts that were not operated for the past five years.
The report quoted Secretary-General of the Media and Awareness Committee of Saudi Banks Talat Hafiz as saying that the banks have been converting the deposits in dormant accounts to a special account for their own investments. Hafiz refused to disclose the amount involved in such operations.
Economic Consultant and Member of the Islamic Economy and Financing Commission Yusuf Al-Zamil said a bank seizing its client’s deposits in the event of the client's whereabouts not being known or absence is a clear violation of Shariah law.
“International banking regulations do not permit confiscation of clients deposits under any situation. If a bank takes possession of money in the account of a person and invests its in some projects, it should be under certain conditions. The money should be returned with a share of the profit to the account holder when he or she is traced. The other condition is that if the deposit is an Islamic banking account, the investment should be in Shariah-compliant projects,” Al-Zamil said.
While experts believe that banks might have appropriated hundreds of millions of riyals in dormant accounts, bank authorities refuse to disclose how much money they have earned from those accounts.
Al-Zamil appealed to SAMA to demand from local banks to convince account holders to have secret codes for their accounts or to have banks classify files of account holders as confidential. This way, only the person who would bring that code to the bank could access his account. The account holder should also inform his heir of the secret code or write it down.
“It is the Prophet's Sunnah that a man should tell his heirs where his wealth is and how it could be accessed,” he said.
Associate Professor of Comparative Fiqh at the Higher Institute of Justice Yusuf Al-Qassim also declared the move of the local banks to appropriate money of its customers in dormant accounts as haram (unlawful).
“No local bank is permitted to seize the wealth of a depositor or investor in kind or cash and so such practices are criminal. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, ‘A Muslim’s wealth is not lawful to others without his permission’.”
Al-Qassim said it is unlawful for a bank to seize the deposit of an account holder, even if the bank stipulated at the time of opening the account that it has the right to appropriate the account holder’s money if he did not operate the account for a long period. Such a stipulation is not legally valid because the client agrees to it only under compulsion.

Trump slams rush to condemn Saudi Arabia over Jamal Khashoggi disappearance

Updated 2 min 23 sec ago

Trump slams rush to condemn Saudi Arabia over Jamal Khashoggi disappearance

  • ‘I think we have to find out what happened first’
  • ‘Here we go again with, you know, you’re guilty until proven innocent. I don’t like that’

WASHINGTON: President Donald Trump on Tuesday criticized rapidly mounting global condemnation of Saudi Arabia over the mystery of missing journalist Jamal Khashoggi, warning of a rush to judgment and echoing the Saudis’ request for patience.

In an interview with The Associated Press, Trump compared the case of Khashoggi to the allegations of sexual assault leveled against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh during his confirmation hearing.

“I think we have to find out what happened first,” Trump said. “Here we go again with, you know, you’re guilty until proven innocent. I don’t like that. We just went through that with Justice Kavanaugh and he was innocent all the way as far as I’m concerned.”

The Oval Office interview came not long after Trump spoke Tuesday with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. He spoke by phone a day earlier with King Salman.

After speaking with the king, Trump floated the idea that “rogue killers” may have been responsible for the disappearance. The president told the AP on Tuesday that that description was informed by his “feeling” from his conversation with Salman and that the king did not use the term.

“It sounded to me, maybe these could have been rogue killers,” Trump said.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is now in Turkey and has met with President Recep Tayipp Erdogan after the senior US diplomat’s talks with King Salman and the crown prince in Riyadh on the case of Khashoggi.

Pompeo had a brief meeting with the king before a lengthy, 40-minute discussion with the crown prince.

“We are strong and old allies. We face our challenges together,” the crown prince said as he warmly welcomed Pompeo to the Saudi capital.

Saudi Minister of Foreign Affairs Adel Al-Jubeir also had talks with Pompeo. “The secretary and the foreign minister agreed on the importance of a thorough, transparent, and timely investigation,” State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said later.

Khashoggi, a Saudi citizen who lived in the US, disappeared on Oct. 2 after visiting the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul to complete paperwork related to his divorce. Saudi Arabia and Turkey have set up a joint team to investigate the disappearance.