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Saudi shuts firm, fines owners SAR2m for concealment

Saudi shuts firm, fines owners SAR2m for concealment

The kingdom is cracking down on foreigners conducting business using the name of citizens

Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Commerce and industry has said it will close a business belonging to a citizen and an Arab expat after the were convicted of being involved in commercial concealment.

A court in Dammam sentenced the two to a SAR2m ($532,890) fine and three months in jail after they were found guilty of using the Saudi national’s name to conduct business in areas normally barred to expats, according to Saudi Press Agency.

The related business, which was not named, will also be liquidated and have its commercial licence cancelled, while the verdict will be published in a local newspaper at the expense of the violators.

The ministry came to its decision after proving the citizen had enabled the Arab expat to carry out commercial activities using his name and commercial licence.

“In no case shall a non-Saudi person engage in or invest in any activity that he is not authorised to practice or invest in,” the ministry said.

The standard punishment for concealment, which authorities say leads to unemployment among Saudi nationals, is SAR1m ($266,445) and two years in prison.

The ministry is working on a national programme to combat commercial fraud under the 2020 National Transformation Plan.

Separately it is also working to boost foreign investment through reforms to the business licence process including are more streamlined application process and longer validity.

Read: Saudi extends foreign investment licence duration

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