Banks have expressed concerns that bank accounts belonging to expatriates deported from the country may pose a risk to the financial system, as these still ‘open’ accounts could be exploited by fraudsters to engage in financial frauds, or for money laundering purposes.

Estimates place the number of bank accounts belonging to deported persons at around 30,000 with various commercial banks in the country. This large number of ‘live’ accounts could invite regional and international criminal gangs to target these accounts to move their illegal funds without drawing attention to themselves. Banks fear that such accounts could also be used to recruit more expatriates for fraudulent operations, whether directly or in exchange for fees. Even dormant accounts that lack funds can be vulnerable to hackers, who seek to penetrate them for the largest possible amount of personal data and password information, as well as financial information.

The banks warn that continued exposure of this large number of bank accounts to financial fraud gangs or those active in money laundering operations increases the vulnerability of the financial system. Accordingly, they have called on the authorities to establish an information link between banks and the Ministry of Interior so that the names of deported people are immediately provided to the banks, which can then freeze these accounts, especially accounts that lack funds.

The regulatory authorities, led by the Financial Investigation Unit of the Central Bank is said to be monitoring the accounts of clients who have deposits in their accounts, have liabilities, or have job or commercial dues that will be deposited later, with further scrutiny by the bank.

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