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New exposé emerges on MMPRC corruption and Maldives tourism's elite

Rae Munavvar
19 September 2018, MVT 12:37
Rae Munavvar
19 September 2018, MVT 12:37

Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) reveal new details pertaining to the colossal corruption scandal concerning Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation (MMPRC).

Published by the same platform that publicized the 'Panama Papers' and revealed the largest corruption scandal uncovered in the Maldives in recent times, the report highlights details on secret business deals taking place between leaders of the country and prominent businessmen.

Aerial view of development is slated to open as the Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi, a five-star resort of 138 private villas, each with its own pool and jacuzzi. Leaked records show the island was leased in 2015 to a local subsidiary of ASSETS Real Estate Development, a Qatar-based company run by Syria-born brothers Moutaz and Ramez Al-Khayyat for a mere $1.5 million. PHOTO: OCCRP

Prior to publication of the article, international news agency Al Jazeera televised a documentary titled 'Stealing Paradise' investigating MMPRC's MVR 1.2 Billion corruption, accusing former Vice President Ahmed Adeeb and his high-ranking government associates of asserting undue influence and duplicity.

In 'Paradise Leased: How Paradise Was Carved Up And Sold' OCCRP journalists Aubrey Belford and Zaheena Rasheed further affirm their accusations, whilst alleging additional details on the corruption.

As with its predecessor, the recently published report reiterates large-scale accusations towards the former Vice President and his associates. However, the accused parties have continuously vehemently refuted all previous claims, attempting to shift blame to one another in the process.

A photograph that was allegedly taken in August, 2014 by former Maldives Tourism Minister Ahmed Adeeb inside the Singapore Hilton presidential suite. PHOTO: OCCRP

Evident from the title itself, 'Paradise Leased' discusses contracting resorts far under market value to certain prominent businessmen from both the local and international arena. The report attributes referenced information to documents previously made public, captured images of messages found on Adeeb's mobile device and other such sources.

According to OCCRP, although those accused in the report were afforded the opportunity to rebut the claims made by the journalists, none of the parties had responded to the media.

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