More than 180 people from across the Gulf have been blacklisted for holding fake US academic certificates allegedly bought from non-accredited institutions, including 69 from Saudi Arabia and 68 from the UAE.
Almost 10,000 people in total have been blacklisted by the US Department of Justice for purchasing fake high school and college degrees from a “degree mill” based in Washington.
According to reports, those named include hundreds of people with links to the US military, educational institutions, government and security agencies such as the CIA.
The fraud came to light following the indictment and conviction of eight people involved in running the scam after being apprehended by the US Attorney's Office in "Operation Gold Seal".
The ringleader of the scam, a 58-year-old high school dropout, has been jailed for three years.
The Department of Justice had refused to make the list public, but US newspaper The Spokesman-Review published the full list of names, where they come from, type of degree and institution on its website.
Buyers from Saudi Arabia and the UAE were the top purchasers of the certificates within the Gulf, with 13 Omani buyers, 12 Bahrainis and four Qataris also named.
To see the full list of names, click here.
According to media reports the buyers paid between a few hundred dollars for a bachelor’s degree up as much as $8,000 for a PhD.
According to The Spokesman-Review, the Department of Justice is considering prosecuting some of the buyers - an estimated 300 employees in the US federal government are named on the list.