Former head of the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU), Athif Shakoor, on Tuesday revealed that he requested the Prosecutor General’s Office (PG) to facilitate an agreement under which prison sentences would be waived in return for his confession on violating the Prevention of Money Laundering and Financing of Terrorism Act.
Athif was in charge of the Maldives Monetary Authority (MMA)'s FIU during the same period in which millions of state funds were siphoned off into private accounts through Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Company (MMPRC).
In February, the PG Office formally pressed criminal charges against Athif over accusations of negligence and failure to initiate appropriate action concerning the MMPRC corruption scandal, the largest graft case recorded in Maldivian history.
Athif disclosed ongoing efforts to reach an agreement with the PG Office concerning a confession during the first preliminary hearing which was conducted at the Criminal Court on Tuesday.
The PG Office has yet to confirm a decision or reveal additional information regarding the matter.
The former FIU head denied all allegations raised against him in a statement delivered at the parliamentary Public Finance Committee meeting held in August 2019.
Furthermore, Athif earlier declared that he had repeatedly attempted to notify Maldives Police Service of the illegal transactions between MMPRC and SOF Pvt Ltd, adding that he conveyed the concerns to the then Governor General of MMA, Azeema Adam, at least four times.
As per the Prevention of Money Laundering and Financing of Terrorism Act, committing or attempting an activity defined as money laundering is considered a serious offence and is punishable with hefty penalties.
The perpetration of an act of money laundering is punishable by a fine between MVR 100,000 and MVR 1,000,000 along with a prison sentence of between five and 15 years, or the imposition of a fine not exceeding five times the amount of funds laundered, along with a prison sentence of between five and 15 years.
Attempting to commit an activity that constitutes money laundering carries a fine between MVR 50,000 and MVR 500,000 in addition to a prison sentence between two to 10 years, or the imposition of a fine not exceeding five times the amount of funds laundered along with the aforementioned prison sentence.
According to the law, participation, association, or conspiracy to commit money laundering is also an offence and is punishable by a fine between MVR 50,000 and MVR 500,000, a prison sentence between two to ten years, or both of these penalties.