RIYADH, 11 July 2005 — Two expatriate workers have allegedly fled with a large sum of money belonging to two different Saudi companies. The news came to light when the two companies realized that their workers, believed to be cousins, from the Malappuram district of the southern Indian state of Kerala, had not reported for duty since June 25.

One of the companies has reported the case to the Indian Embassy. “The embassy is taking necessary action,” said an embassy official yesterday. “We are not sure about the complicity of Abdul Azeez Pattesseri Padikkal and his cousin in this case of financial embezzlement. The company only mentioned in its complaint that Padikkal has been missing since June 25,” the embassy official explained.

According to a company statement e-mailed to Arab News, Padikkal is believed to have embezzled a substantial sum of money. “The company is surprised to know that Paddikal has left the Kingdom despite the fact that his passport is still in our possession,” said a senior manager of the Dammam-based company. He refused, however, to specify the extent of the losses suffered by the two companies.

Paddikal’s cousin, Abdul Ghafoor, was working for another Dammam-based company. Asked about Ghafoor’s case, the embassy official said: “No formal complaint has been lodged against the brother or cousin so far.”

The official pointed out that two new unrelated cases of embezzlement involving Indian workers had been reported to the mission within the past few weeks.

In a similar case, security authorities in Jeddah recently arrested an Asian national for embezzling SR380,000. The worker was attempting to flee the country using a forged passport. Police arrested the man at King Abdul Aziz International Airport after receiving a tip-off.

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