Saudi customs seize $24mln illegal cash since early 2020

Travelers arriving or departing from the Kingdom who are carrying coins, jewelry or any precious metals worth $15,999 or more, or its equivalent in foreign currencies, must declare

  
A Saudi man wearing a face mask checks-in his baggages at the King Khalid International Airport, after Saudi authorities lifted the travel ban on its citizens after fourteen months due to coronavirus disease (COVID-19) restrictions, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, May 16, 2021.

A Saudi man wearing a face mask checks-in his baggages at the King Khalid International Airport, after Saudi authorities lifted the travel ban on its citizens after fourteen months due to coronavirus disease (COVID-19) restrictions, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, May 16, 2021.

REUTERS/Ahmed Yosri
 
JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia’s Zakat, Tax and Customs Authority (GAZT) prevented the smuggling of more than 290 kilograms of gold jewelry and almost SR90 million ($24 million) in cash from crossing out of the Kingdom over the span of 18 months since the beginning of 2020.
 
As part of efforts to combat smuggling through its facilities in Saudi Arabia, GAZT officers were able to foil an attempt on Friday to smuggle SR2.76 million in cash hidden inside a truck leaving through the Al-Batha Border Port.
 
GAZT officials said that the money was “stashed in the cavity of the rear axles of the truck,” adding that legal measures were taken against the smuggler.
 
In another smuggling operation foiled on May 27, inspectors were alerted to a suspicious female passenger arriving at Jeddah’s King Abdul Aziz International Airport. She was found to have ingested 60 capsules, or 683.5 grams of cocaine. Similarly, a male passenger had ingested 80 capsules, containing 918.5 grams of cocaine.

Travelers arriving or departing from the Kingdom who are carrying coins, jewelry or any precious metals worth SR60,000 or more, or its equivalent in foreign currencies, must declare the items electronically through the GAZT application or website by filling out the designated form electronically, and submitting the reference number to customs authorities upon departure or arrival.

GAZT said that in the event of a false or nondeclaration, a fine of 25 percent of the value of the seized items will be imposed.

If a violation is repeated, a fine of 50 percent of the value of the seized items will be handed down. This is applicable only if there is no suspicion of the incident being linked to a predicate crime or money laundering crime, but should there be any suspicion, the entire amount shall be withheld and the violator shall be referred to The Kingdom’s Public Prosecution.

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