Alert over fake Saudi currency




MONEY exchange firms in Bahrain have stepped up vigilance amid unconfirmed reports of fake Saudi currency circulating in the market.

Representatives of three companies in Bahrain, asked not to be identified, said they were aware of reports of counterfeit riyals and had instructed staff to be more cautious.

Pictures of signs at petrol stations instructing staff not to accept riyals also appeared online on Sunday, although they could not be authenticated.

‘We have information from our branches that there is circulation of counterfeit Saudi riyals and cashiers and counter staff at all our branches have been asked to be vigilant,’ a spokesman for one currency exchange told the GDN yesterday.

‘In one case reported, the notes have been seized and authorities have been informed.

‘Staff have been specially alerted to be on the lookout.’

The spokesman of another money exchange said he planned to raise the issue with the Bahrain Exchange Committee, which is a forum of leading currency exchanges.

‘I was informed by my staff about the circulation of fake Saudi riyals in the market,’ he said.

‘I haven’t taken any action yet as I am planning to raise it in the committee and also waiting for an official notice from the Central Bank of Bahrain (CBB).

‘We did not receive any case of fake currency being submitted at our counter.’

He added that anyone who handed over fake currency would be reported to police.

‘We have instructed staff to notify us of cases of this kind, if any,’ he said.

Businessman and Bahrain Chamber of Commerce and Industry board member Abdulhakim Al Shammary said he was aware of concerns and urged the CBB to take action to allay fears.

‘There are reports of fake Saudi currency in the market and the CBB is responsible for addressing this concern to allay public fears at the earliest,’ he said.

‘The dollar, euro and Saudi riyal are the most affected currencies when it comes to faking because of their value and demand.

‘However, the banking system in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia ‘“ and the awareness of the public on such matters ‘“ are commendable.

‘The chances of passing large amounts of fake currency in the market is reduced.

‘Saudi currency is usually received by hoteliers, money exchanges or retailers who are aware of the quality of the currency and it is not easy to spread fake notes.’

One shopper told the GDN that when he tried to buy goods at a hypermarket with Saudi riyals on Saturday, he was informed that Saudi currency was not being accepted.

However, a hypermarket spokesman denied such a rule existed when contacted by the GDN.

‘We have issued no such instruction to staff,’ he said.

CBB officials did not respond yesterday.

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