Bahrain Prosecution Issues Rulings on Iranian Banks over Money-Laundering Charges

Public Prosecution via AAAWSAT AR.
Public Prosecution via AAAWSAT AR.
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Bahrain Prosecution Issues Rulings on Iranian Banks over Money-Laundering Charges

Public Prosecution via AAAWSAT AR.
Public Prosecution via AAAWSAT AR.

Bahrain’s High Criminal Court on Thursday sentenced three Iran-owned Future Bank officials to five years in jail and fined each with up to 1 million Bahraini dinars ($2.65 million) in two money-laundering cases, Bahrain News Agency reported.

The court also fined Future Bank and three other banks with up to BD14 million and ordered the confiscation of the illegal transfer amounts that reached BD500,000, chief prosecutor Mohammed Jamal Sultan said.

According to the case documents, the public prosecution has discovered an Iranian plot involving several entities, including some that are sanctioned internationally for funding terrorism, to carry out financial transactions while evading scrutiny.

Future Bank, operating under the supervision of Bank Melli Iran and Bank Saderat Iran, made thousands of international financial transactions while providing covers for Iranian entities by concealing and deliberately removing basic information when transferring funds via the SWIFT network, the chief prosecutor said.

The public prosecution is still investigating the remaining illegal activities that include how the Iranian banks carried out international transactions in violation of the law prohibiting and combating money laundering and terrorism financing, as well as the laws and banking regulations in force in the kingdom, he added.



Saudi Foreign Minister Meets with Russian Counterpart

The Saudi Minister of Foreign Affairs, Prince Faisal bin Farhan, met with his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov in Cape Town. SPA
The Saudi Minister of Foreign Affairs, Prince Faisal bin Farhan, met with his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov in Cape Town. SPA
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Saudi Foreign Minister Meets with Russian Counterpart

The Saudi Minister of Foreign Affairs, Prince Faisal bin Farhan, met with his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov in Cape Town. SPA
The Saudi Minister of Foreign Affairs, Prince Faisal bin Farhan, met with his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov in Cape Town. SPA

The Saudi Minister of Foreign Affairs, Prince Faisal bin Farhan, met on Thursday with his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, on the sidelines of the Ministerial Meeting of Friends of BRICS Group in Cape Town, South Africa.

During the meeting, the two sides reviewed aspects of friendship and cooperation between the two countries and ways to enhance and develop them in all fields. They also discussed consolidating bilateral and multilateral work regarding many fields of common interest.

During the meeting, Prince Faisal reiterated the Kingdom's position in support of all regional and international endeavors to find a political solution to the Russian-Ukrainian crisis.

The two sides also discussed the key issues raised in the Ministerial Meeting, held under the slogan "BRICS and Africa: Partnership for Mutually Accelerated Growth, Sustainable Development, and Inclusive Multilateralism.”

The meeting was attended by the Undersecretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for Multiple International Affairs, Dr. Abdulrahman Al-Rassi, the Saudi Ambassador to South Africa, Sultan Al-Luyhan Al-Anqari, and Director-General of Prince Faisal's office Abdulrahman Al-Daoud.


11th Saudi Relief Plane Arrives in Sudan

The aid is in implementation of the directives of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques. SPA
The aid is in implementation of the directives of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques. SPA
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11th Saudi Relief Plane Arrives in Sudan

The aid is in implementation of the directives of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques. SPA
The aid is in implementation of the directives of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques. SPA

The 11th Saudi relief plane arrived at Port Sudan International Airport on Thursday, carrying 30 tons of foodstuff and medical supplies, as part of the Saudi relief aid operated by the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSrelief) to help the Sudanese people, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

The aid is in implementation of the directives of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz and Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz, the Crown Prince and Prime Minister, SPA said.

Delivering aid reflects the noble humanitarian role played by the Kingdom through KSrelief in all countries in need, the news agency added.


Saudi FM Participates in BRICS Friends Ministerial Meeting in South Africa

Saudi Minister of Foreign Affairs Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al-Saud attends a news conference at the Arab Gulf Summit in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, December 9, 2022. REUTERS/Ahmed Yosri/File Photo
Saudi Minister of Foreign Affairs Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al-Saud attends a news conference at the Arab Gulf Summit in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, December 9, 2022. REUTERS/Ahmed Yosri/File Photo
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Saudi FM Participates in BRICS Friends Ministerial Meeting in South Africa

Saudi Minister of Foreign Affairs Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al-Saud attends a news conference at the Arab Gulf Summit in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, December 9, 2022. REUTERS/Ahmed Yosri/File Photo
Saudi Minister of Foreign Affairs Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al-Saud attends a news conference at the Arab Gulf Summit in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, December 9, 2022. REUTERS/Ahmed Yosri/File Photo

Saudi Minister of Foreign Affairs Prince Faisal bin Farhan bin Abdullah heads to South Africa on Thursday to participate in the two-day ministerial meeting of BRICS Friends in Cape Town.

A number of Foreign Ministers of friendly countries will attend the meeting that will be held under the theme “Partnership for Mutually Accelerated Growth, Sustainable Development and Inclusive Multilateralism," the Saudi Press Agency reported.

The Saudi Foreign Minister will discuss with his counterparts the most important developments in the world, and boosting multilateral action to achieve prosperity in all countries, SPA said.

He is also scheduled to hold bilateral meetings with the Foreign Ministers of friendly countries, the news agency added.


Saudi Population at 32 Million, 51% Under 30

Riyadh is the largest Saudi city in terms of population, followed by Jeddah and Makkah (Asharq Al-Awsat)
Riyadh is the largest Saudi city in terms of population, followed by Jeddah and Makkah (Asharq Al-Awsat)
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Saudi Population at 32 Million, 51% Under 30

Riyadh is the largest Saudi city in terms of population, followed by Jeddah and Makkah (Asharq Al-Awsat)
Riyadh is the largest Saudi city in terms of population, followed by Jeddah and Makkah (Asharq Al-Awsat)

The General Authority for Statistics (GASTAT) announced the results of the Saudi 2022 census, which puts the population of the Kingdom at 32.1 million with 18.8 million nationals, of which 63 percent are under the age of 30 and 13.4 million residents.

The census showed that the total number of Saudi families accounted for 4.2 million, with an average size of 4.8 persons per family.

The percentage of Saudi males was close to that of Saudi females, as the ratio of males reached 50.2 percent, compared to 49.8 percent for females.

The census data was collected using various techniques, such as more than one million phone calls, 900,000 field visits, and advanced data analysis and statistics methods.

It has been conducted in line with the best international methodologies and with the help of the latest technologies.

Comparisons included five different data sources, and more than 200 indicators reviewed the data to confirm its accuracy.

- Saudi Arabia: a young society

The statistics showed that the Kingdom has a young population, with a median age of 29 and a population of Saudis under 30 making up 63 percent of the total, making Saudi Arabia one of the youngest countries in the world.

Minister of Economy and Planning, Chairman of the Board of Directors of GASTAT, Faisal al-Ibrahim, said the 2022 census was the most comprehensive and accurate in the Kingdom's history.

Ibrahim indicated that the outputs would be a "key pillar for planning and decision-making" and supporting the investment environment in the Kingdom for developing various sectors and achieving Vision 2030 goals.

The minister stressed that the figures are a performance measurement for government agencies and help make local, regional, and international comparisons with accuracy and transparency.

- Modern technologies and accurate data

The Chairman of the Authority, Fahad al-Dossari, indicated that they are seeking to keep pace with the transformations witnessed by Vision 2030.

Dossari noted that since the Authority's launch, the quality and accuracy of data have improved steadily, integration and participation between government agencies have increased, and the digital infrastructure has developed in the Kingdom.

He asserted that the Authority followed the best international methodologies and the latest technologies in implementing the census plan and followed modern methods for issuing data through cooperation with various government agencies.

The Saudi 2022 census is the most comprehensive and precise population survey conducted in the Kingdom's history, noting the official indicated that the results were more than 95 percent accurate.

- Successful housing plans

Researcher Abdulsalam al-Wail reported that the results of the announced census showed an improvement in data collection methodologies and modern technologies, significantly increasing its accuracy compared to previous years.

Wail told Asharq Al-Awsat that it was a positive indication to have a large number of young citizens in the country, noting that the results of the statistic showed a young society that would work in the coming years to advance development under Vision 2030.

Compared to the previous census, the data showed an increase in the number of Saudi homeowners, said the expert, which he believed was an indication of the success of the citizens' housing plans.

Over the past five years, the Ministry of Housing announced many initiatives to increase home ownership in the Kingdom.

Last year, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman announced that Saudi Arabia is seeking a population of 50 to 60 million by 2030, half of whom are Saudis.


Saudi Ambassador Abdullah bin Khalid Presents his Credentials to German President

The German President receives the new Saudi Ambassador to Berlin on Wednesday. SPA
The German President receives the new Saudi Ambassador to Berlin on Wednesday. SPA
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Saudi Ambassador Abdullah bin Khalid Presents his Credentials to German President

The German President receives the new Saudi Ambassador to Berlin on Wednesday. SPA
The German President receives the new Saudi Ambassador to Berlin on Wednesday. SPA

Saudi ambassador to Germany Prince Abdullah bin Khalid bin Sultan has affirmed the Kingdom’s keenness to strengthen friendly ties between the two countries, as he presented on Wednesday his credentials at the Presidential palace in Berlin.

German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier wished the ambassador success in his mission.

During the reception, the prince conveyed a greeting from the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Salman bin Abdulaziz, and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz to the president, wishing the people of Germany continued progress and prosperity.

Steinmeier conveyed his greetings to the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques and the Crown Prince, and his wishes for further progress and prosperity for the Kingdom and its people.


Over 198,000 Pilgrims Arrive in Madinah

The data showed that the largest number of pilgrims arrived from Indonesia, amounting to 40,364 pilgrims, while 27,789 pilgrims arrived from India. - SPA
The data showed that the largest number of pilgrims arrived from Indonesia, amounting to 40,364 pilgrims, while 27,789 pilgrims arrived from India. - SPA
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Over 198,000 Pilgrims Arrive in Madinah

The data showed that the largest number of pilgrims arrived from Indonesia, amounting to 40,364 pilgrims, while 27,789 pilgrims arrived from India. - SPA
The data showed that the largest number of pilgrims arrived from Indonesia, amounting to 40,364 pilgrims, while 27,789 pilgrims arrived from India. - SPA

The Ministry of Hajj and Umrah's latest report on the pilgrim flow to and from Madinah revealed that the number of Hajj arrivals amounted to 198,670 of several nationalities. Those include who traveled through the air and land ports to perform the Hajj rituals this year.

The data indicated that 124,946 pilgrims arrived at Prince Mohammad bin Abdulaziz International Airport in Madinah since the first batch of pilgrims arrived so far, while the land immigration center received 7,100 pilgrims.

The report also showed that the largest number of pilgrims arrived from Indonesia, amounting to 40,364 pilgrims, while 27,789 pilgrims arrived from India.

Also, 26,749 pilgrims arrived from Pakistan, 13,734 pilgrims arrived from Bangladesh, and 13,004 pilgrims arrived from Iran.

More than 20,000 pilgrims left Madinah during the past few days on their way to the holy sites in Makkah, the report indicated.


Saudi Arabia, Kenya Sign MoU on Combating Corruption

Saudi Flag via Reuters
Saudi Flag via Reuters
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Saudi Arabia, Kenya Sign MoU on Combating Corruption

Saudi Flag via Reuters
Saudi Flag via Reuters

The Saudi President of Control and Anti-Corruption Authority, Mazen bin Ibrahim Al-Kahmous, met with the Secretary and CEO of Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) of the Republic of Kenya, Twalib Abdallah Mbarak, and the accompanying delegation.

The Saudi and Kenyan officials discussed ways of joint cooperation between the two countries in protecting integrity and combating corruption.

The Kingdom and Kenya signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to enhance cooperation in this regard.

The MoU aims to raise the exchange levels of relevant information about corruption crimes and develop the institutional capacity of the two countries.

The two sides also reviewed the most important measures adopted by the Control and Anti-Corruption Authority (Nazaha) in promoting integrity and transparency principles and combating corruption, in addition to discussing the Kenyan experience in the same field.


UAE, Iran Discuss Cooperation to Achieve Joint Interests, Support Security

The UAE and Iranian officials hold talks in Tehran. (WAM)
The UAE and Iranian officials hold talks in Tehran. (WAM)
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UAE, Iran Discuss Cooperation to Achieve Joint Interests, Support Security

The UAE and Iranian officials hold talks in Tehran. (WAM)
The UAE and Iranian officials hold talks in Tehran. (WAM)

United Arab Emirates Minister of State and Envoy of the Minister of Foreign Affairs Khalifa Shaheen Al Marar kicked off on Wednesday an official visit to Iran.

He met with Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, Deputy Foreign Minister for Political Affairs Ali Bagheri Kani and Deputy Foreign Minister for Economic Diplomacy Dr. Mahdi Safari in Tehran.

The talks focused on bilateral relations between the UAE and Iran and ways to expand cooperation to achieve shared interests and promote regional stability and prosperity, reported the UAE’s state news agency (WAM).

The officials also exchanged views on issues of mutual concern.


KSrelief Continues to Provide Aid to People Affected by Earthquake in Aleppo

Up to 830 foodstuff and 830 hygiene kits were distributed in Rajo, benefiting 830 families - SPA
Up to 830 foodstuff and 830 hygiene kits were distributed in Rajo, benefiting 830 families - SPA
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KSrelief Continues to Provide Aid to People Affected by Earthquake in Aleppo

Up to 830 foodstuff and 830 hygiene kits were distributed in Rajo, benefiting 830 families - SPA
Up to 830 foodstuff and 830 hygiene kits were distributed in Rajo, benefiting 830 families - SPA

The King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSrelief) continue to distribute various relief supplies to people affected by the earthquake in Aleppo, northern Syria, where 830 foodstuff and 830 hygiene kits were distributed in Rajo, benefiting 830 families.

This comes as part of the humanitarian and relief aid that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia provides through KSrelief, to countries and people in need worldwide.

Also, a KSrelief volunteer medical team paid a visit to Erbil, the capital of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, to study the need to implement voluntary medical programs aimed at providing treatment to patients and training for health personnel, in coordination with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia's embassy in Iraq.

Health Minister of the Kurdistan Regional Government in Iraq Dr. Saman Barzanji welcomed the KSrelief team, pointing to the humanitarian role of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and its continuous support for Iraq in all humanitarian and relief sectors.

The medical team will make similar visits to the cities of Baghdad and Basra to complete the field study and develop a vision for the implementation of voluntary medical programs there.

The volunteer medical team of the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSRelief) paid a visit to Erbil - SPA

 


Lebanese Officials: Kidnapping of Saudi National Won’t Affect Relations with Riyadh

Saudi Ambassador to Lebanon Waleed Bukhari speaks during a press conference at Saudi Arabia's embassy in Beirut, Lebanon May 30, 2023. (Reuters)
Saudi Ambassador to Lebanon Waleed Bukhari speaks during a press conference at Saudi Arabia's embassy in Beirut, Lebanon May 30, 2023. (Reuters)
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Lebanese Officials: Kidnapping of Saudi National Won’t Affect Relations with Riyadh

Saudi Ambassador to Lebanon Waleed Bukhari speaks during a press conference at Saudi Arabia's embassy in Beirut, Lebanon May 30, 2023. (Reuters)
Saudi Ambassador to Lebanon Waleed Bukhari speaks during a press conference at Saudi Arabia's embassy in Beirut, Lebanon May 30, 2023. (Reuters)

The Lebanese army succeeded on Monday in freeing abducted Saudi national Mashari al-Mutairi hours after the news of his kidnapping broke out. The military arrested the majority of his captors, garnering praise for their efforts to uncover the perpetrators.

Military sources told Asharq Al-Awsat that the majority of the suspects were detained. They denied information that notorious drug dealer Monzer Zoaiter, also known as Abou Salleh, was behind the kidnapping. The sources confirmed however, that al-Mutairi’s captors were part of the most dangerous robbery, kidnapping and drug gangs in Lebanon.

A judicial source told Asharq Al-Awsat that the case will be referred to the military judiciary for several reasons. Among them is that the kidnappers had disguised themselves as members of the army by donning military outfits. They had also kitted their vehicle to make it appear as if it were a military car.

Al-Mutairi was freed after the military intelligence directorate carried out a “sophisticated raid on the Lebanese-Syrian border”. His kidnappers had demanded a ransom of $400,000 for his release. He was reported missing overnight on Saturday, kicking off contacts on the highest levels for his release.

The military carried out another raid after the release. It targeted the houses of suspected kidnappers in the Sharawineh neighborhood in the eastern city of Baalbek. They also raided a captagon narcotic pills factory that belongs to the kidnappers. A clash between the military and suspects ensued during the raid. No one was injured.

After al-Mutairi's release, caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati declared that Lebanon was keen on deterring any threat against Arabs visiting the country. Lebanon will not be used as a platform to threaten the security of Arab countries, he added.

He strongly condemned the abduction, congratulating the military on its major success in freeing the hostage and arresting the perpetrators.

Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri praised the military command and all security forces for their role in freeing al-Mutairi. He called on the security agencies to continue their efforts in pursuing everyone involved in the case.

Caretaker Interior Minister Bassam Mawlawi met with Saudi Ambassador to Lebanon Waleed Bukhari on Monday. The ambassador hailed the efforts that led to the release of the captive, who had headed to the Saudi embassy soon after he was freed.

Mawlawi stressed that the abduction will not affect Lebanon’s relations with Saudi Arabia, which he described as “deep and firm”.

“No one can threaten or undermine them,” he added, revealing that nine people have been arrested in connection to the crime.

“The independent Lebanese judiciary will look into this dangerous crime,” he went on to say.

“We will confront anyone who tries to harm our relations with Arab brothers. We thank them for their constant support to Lebanon,” stated the minister.

For his part, Bukhari praised the security and military forces in freeing the captive.

Al-Mutairi is well, he confirmed, saying he had endured a “trying 48-hour ordeal before he was freed.”

The security forces and Saudi authorities were in constant communication to ensure his release. The Kingdom, he remarked, is very keen on every Saudi abroad.

Praise poured in for the army after the release.

The Progressive Socialist Party hailed the military, stressing that it “rejects all attempts aimed at harming Lebanon’s relations with Saudi Arabia.” It demanded that all suspects in the case be arrested and brought to justice.

Kataeb party leader MP Sami Gemayel saluted the army and security forces on their professional work. He called for laying down the harshest of punishments against the perpetrators and their backers so that others would be deterred from committing a similar crime in the future, significantly as Lebanon approaches its usually lucrative summer season.

“We have complete trust in the military institutions that alone work diligently in protecting the Lebanese people and all visitors to the country,” Gemayel tweeted.

MP Tony Franjieh warned that the abduction was an attempt to harm Lebanon’s security, economy and tourist season. He demanded that the necessary measures be taken against the perpetrators to restore the authority of the state, put an end to kidnapping, drug and robbery gangs and protect Lebanon’s relations with Arab countries, especially Saudi Arabia.