The Prosecutor General’s (PG) office on Thursday pressed criminal charges against former head of Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) of the Maldives' central bank, Maldives Monetary Authority (MMA), for violating the 2014 Prevention of Money Laundering and Financing of Terrorism Act.
Athif Shakoor, in charge of the FIU at the Maldives Monetary Authority at the time when public funds in millions were siphoned off into private accounts through Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Company (MMPRC), is accused of negligence and failure to take appropriate action over the matter.
Athif had denied the allegations in an earlier statement made at the Parliament Public Finance Committee hearing held in August 2019.
Athif had earlier also stated that he was aware of these transactions, made in millions of Maldivian Rufiya, and continued to monitor the illegal transactions between MMPRC and SOF at the time they were taking place.
Athif declared that he had made several attempts to bring the illegal transactions to the attention of the police, adding that he raised the matter to the notice of Azeema Adam, the Governor General of MMA at the time, at least four times.
In his statement, he noted that his colleagues, former FIU head, Abdulla Ashraf, and Assistant Governor General, Neeza Imad were privy to some of these meetings.
As per the anti-money laundering law, the commission of an activity that constitutes as money laundering, or an attempt to commit an act of money laundering, are serious offenses punishable with hefty penalties.
The commission of an act of money laundering carries a fine between MVR 100,000 and MVR 1,000,000 with imprisonment between 5 and 15 years, or, a fine not exceeding 5 times the amount of funds laundered, with imprisonment between 5 and 15 years.
Attempting to commit an activity that constiutes as money laundering carries a fine between MVR 50,000 and MVR 500,000, with imprisonment between 2 and 10 years, or are liable to pay a fine not exceeding 5 times the amount of the laundered funds, with imprisonment between 2 and 10 years.
According to the law, the participation, association, or conspiracy to commit money laundering is also an offense, punishable by a fine between MVR 50,000 and MVR 500,000 or imprisonment between 2 years and 10 years or both of these penalties.