London, Asharq Al-Awsat—The new Saudi legislation clamping down on terrorism will also put a choke hold on terrorism financing, financial experts told Asharq Al-Awsat.
The new legislation explicitly criminalizes raising, offering, receiving, holding or transferring money in support of any individual or group designated a terrorist group by Saudi authorities. The latest statement by the Saudi Interior Ministry designated Al-Qaeda, the Muslim Brotherhood, Hezbollah’s activities in the Kingdom, and the Yemeni Houthi Movement as terrorist groups, among others.
Speaking to Asharq Al-Awsat, the head of the Shura Council committee on security affairs, Dr. Saud Humeid Al-Subei’i, said that bringing these groups’ financial activities and assets under the Kingdom’s anti-terror laws was one of the most significant developments in the royal decree.
Subei’i affirmed that monitoring and tracing these groups’ sources of funding is one of the government’s primary duties in ensuring the security of Saudi Arabia and its citizens.
He added that banks and financial institutions in Saudi Arabia will respond swiftly to meet these requirements in accordance with the anti-terrorism royal decree.
According to Subei’i, these procedures aim to highlight the Kingdom’s rejection of all forms of terror inside or outside the country.
In comments to Asharq Al-Awsat, Saudi Shura Council member and financial expert Dr. Khalil Kurdi said that the Kingdom’s laws banning financing terrorism are in compliance with international anti-terror laws. He added that the new legislation has been reviewed by international organizations.
According to Kurdi, the Saudi Interior Ministry, in cooperation with other governmental institutions including the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency, is in the process of tracing all funds being directed to groups that the Kingdom has designated as terrorist organization.
Prominent Saudi banker Fadl Abu El-Enin, who specializes in combatting money laundering, confirmed that the competent authorities in Saudi Arabia will automatically place any funds, assets or financial activities associated with these groups under surveillance and hold those involved accountable.
The Saudi banker added that the royal decree does not exclude any form of financial assets or property belonging to individuals affiliated to groups named in the latest Interior Ministry statement.