RIYADH — Four Yemeni residents and one Saudi citizen, who were convicted of commercial cover-up (tasattur), were sentenced to a total of 14 years in prison. The Criminal Court in Madinah also slapped fines amounting to SR100000 and confiscation of proceeds involved in tasattur worth over SR6 million, the Saudi Press Agency reported quoting the Ministry of Commerce sources.

The five suspects were found guilty of involving in commercial concealment in the gold and jewelry sector through their two establishments based in the Madinah and Najran regions. The court awarded three-year jail term to the Saudi citizen and three Yemenis each. Another Yemeni was sentenced to two years in prison for his involvement in the crime along with other convicts through the supervision of illegal financial revenues.

The penalties also included the seizure and confiscation of funds and proceeds resulting from the cover-up crime, the value of which exceeded SR6 million, including cash and bank balances, in addition to about 28 kilograms of gold, a private transport vehicle, and a smartphone.

The court imposed a fine of SR100000 on the convicts in addition to taking a number of other punitive measures such as liquidation of the establishment’s activity; cancellation of the commercial registry; cancellation of the license; preventing the convicted citizen from practicing commercial activity for a period of five years; collecting zakat, fees and taxes; deportation of the convicted Yemeni residents after serving their jail terms and payment of financial liabilities; imposing a ban on them to return to the Kingdom for work; and publication of their punishment in the local media at their personal expense.

According to the court verdict, it was proven that the Saudi citizen facilitated the Yemeni residents to engage in gold and jewelry trade using his commercial registry, and the concerned authorities seized physical evidence confirming that they were practicing commercial activity illegally and without a foreign investment license.

It is noteworthy that the National Program to Combat Commercial Concealment has set 10 standards for any commercial establishments’ compliance with market rules approved by government agencies, and they are under continuous surveillance of the concerned authorities. The Anti-Concealment Law stipulates the imposition of prison sentences of up to five years, fines up to SR5 million, and the seizure and confiscation of illicit funds and proceeds after issuance of final judicial rulings against those involved in such crimes.

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