Woman Bank Employee Steals From Customers

RIYADH, 6 July 2005 — Police have arrested a Saudi female bank employee who is believed to be responsible for embezzling about SR4 million from customers’ accounts. The woman who allegedly embezzled the money was working in a managerial position at a ladies’ branch of a leading Saudi bank in Dawadami town, about 250 km west of Riyadh.

“This female employee is currently being questioned by the police,” said reliable sources here yesterday. The bank employee was reportedly arrested late last month, when suspicions were raised about her complicity in the embezzlement. The source said that the Dawadami-based branch of the bank had not been affected because of this incident and it was opened immediately for customers after the employee was arrested by the police.

Police and the bank officials are now trying to establish the details about the case. The officials have also checked all accounts of the bank’s branch, as the scam is thought to have been going on for some time. The suspect is also believed to have had access to the accounts of the customers because of her managerial position. The bank, however, refused to issue any formal statement yesterday saying simply that customers should not be alarmed.

Referring to the case, the source said: “The bank has already dismissed her and police are investigating the case.” The source, however, refused to give more information about the suspect.

According to reports published in two Arabic dailies early this week, the employee allegedly stole the money of the bank’s customers and was trying to use the funds she acquired for personal purposes.

The reports said the employee was detained by the police in a short time.

Banking sources said this case of embezzlement by a bank employee is not the first in Saudi Arabia and added that many other cases of embezzlement had been reported this year alone. In one case, an employee of another major bank was detained in Dammam early this year after he tried to swindle SR8 million. They also said that a worker of a joint-venture bank tried to escape with SR400,000, but failed.

In a separate case, a banker was also arrested for allegedly embezzling SR1.8 million from another local bank a few weeks earlier.

Although these cases of embezzlement have little impact on Saudi banks, their growing number has become a cause for concern among the top management personnel of the banks. They are working to check incidents of financial irregularities and coordinating their efforts with security agencies and Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency (SAMA) to detect such cases.

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