Security forces in the Al-Baha region of southern Saudi Arabia continued their investigation into the theft of two million Saudi Riyals (SR), from accounts held in a Saudi bank in the Belghresy governorate that is affiliated to the Al-Baha region. Amongst the suspects were two employers of the bank who have been summoned for questioning.
Major General Ali Bin Saleh Al-Siary, the head of the police department in the region received a statement from one of the banks. The statement had referred to other cases of fraud from which bank customers have suffered. He said, "One of the suspects has been arrested while a search is taking place for the other."
Nasser al-Ghamdi, bank manager, says, "The bank administration is looking into this issue with the greatest concern." He asserted that the stolen money will be returned to customers and assured all customers that the authorities were taking the necessary procedures to retrieve the money.
It was made clear to Asharq al-Awsat that the discovery that money had been stolen took place when a customer requested a bank statement, only to realize that a sum of 450,000 SR had been withdrawn from his account via cheque. When the news spread, other customers rushed to check their bank accounts only for a number of them to find that large sums of money had been taken. The total of stolen money amounted to two million SR. The money was taken from savings accounts, current accounts and investments. One investor had deposited one and a half million SR, half a million of which he had withdrawn and the remaining million was left for investment. As he checked the development of his account, he found that it was empty.
According to this investor, who preferred to remain anonymous, he had formerly received a letter from one of the bank”s employers addressing the possibility of using his money for investment purposes. The customer refused adding that he would feel more secure in dealing only with the bank.
Similarly, another victim of this theft found that 300,000 SR had been withdrawn from his account despite the fact that he was not present in the country. Along with many other victims, this customer complained of the delay in retrieving their money.
One of the victims, 75-year-old Fatima Sheran has been a customer of the bank since 1976. Due to the close proximity of the bank to this customer”s home, she frequently deposited amounts reaching a total of 100,000 SR. After discovering that there was only 18,000SR in her account, she called the bank manager, who reassured her that the matter would be solved. It was soon discovered that 60,000SR had been withdrawn by using a false cheque that bore her forged signature. The woman is illiterate and all transactions made are only authorized by her fingerprint that is registered with the bank.