Criminal Court, on Thursday, sentenced former president Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom to five years of imprisonment and imposed a fine of USD 5 million over money laundering charges.
The ex-president was convicted of money laundering following a unanimous decision by the five-member judge bench presiding over his case. Aired on live television, the hotly anticipated verdict was delivered after repeated delays.
Yameen was allotted a six-month period to complete paying the fined amount.
Despite efforts by Yameen's lawyers to postpone the announcement of his final punishment, the Criminal Court asserted that there was no valid reason for such a delay.
Although Yameen's verdict was initially scheduled to be announced on November 5, the hearing was postponed following the suspension of Criminal Court Chief Judge Ahmed Hailam.
The bench which delivered the aforementioned verdict was formed after the incident and consists of Judge Ali Rasheed, Ahmed Shakeel, Ali Adam, Hussain Faiz and Mohamed Sameer.
The state charged former President Yameen with money laundering over a transaction of USD 1 million to his account in Maldives Islamic Bank MIB by SOF Pvt Ltd. The company is implicated in the MVR 3.3 billion embezzlement scandal of Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation (MMPRC), which is considered the largest corruption case recorded in Maldivian history.
While Yameen had agreed to transfer the USD 1 million to a joint escrow account at Bank of Maldives (BML), which was opened with Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC), it later surfaced that the money Yameen transferred to the account was not the USD 1 million he received from SOF. The funds from SOF were instead deposited in a general investment account at MIB.