Former president Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom, on Wednesday night, claimed that he is "untouchable" if a fair trial against him is observed.
Speaking at a signing ceremony for members into the Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM), Yameen expressed confidence that he would not receive a prison sentence and urged Maldivians not to be concerned regarding the charges against him.
Asserting that he had never abused state funds, Yameen added that he had no reason to do so due to personal financial security. "The funds I had then amount to over a million dollars".
However, the PPM leader alleged that the current government was attempting to influence his trial. He claimed that Criminal Court Chief Judge Ahmed Hailam had received calls concerning the matter.
Although the verdict on Yameen's money laundering trial was scheduled for November 5, the hearing was delayed following the suspension of Judge Hailam. Judge Ali Rasheed assumed Judge Hailam's responsibilities following his suspension.
Criminal Court decided to compile a bench consisting of five judges to conduct the trial. The bench consists of Judges Ali Rasheed, Ahmed Shakeel, Mohamed Sameer, Ali Adam and Hussain Faiz Rashad.
The next hearing in Yameen's trial is scheduled for November 17.