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Police accuse ex-pres Yameen of money laundering

Mariyam Malsa
07 January 2019, MVT 10:48
President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom on the way to the police headquarters. PHOTO CREDITS: HASSAN AMIR/ MIHAARU
Mariyam Malsa
07 January 2019, MVT 10:48

Maldives Police Service on Sunday night revealed that former President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom was summoned for questioning over laundering money deposited into his bank accounts, which were originally embezzled in the Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation (MMPRC) corruption scandal, and for providing false information.

The police explained that a large proportion of the funds embezzled in the MMPRC scandal, which the largest case of corruption recorded in Maldives, was deposited in the former president's account at Maldives Islamic Bank (MIB).

Additionally, the police stated that the former president had provided false information to government institutions which were investigating the issue.

Yameen spoke to the media after a long interrogation of over four hours, stating that he was questioned regarding the handover of USD 1 million, initially deposited to his MIB account by SOF Pvt Ltd, to the Anti-Corruption Commission.

Yameen had agreed to transfer the USD 1 million to an escrow account jointly managed by ACC and himself. It has since been revealed that the letter sent by the former Legal Affairs Minister of the President’s Office, Azima Shakoor, to the ACC confirming that the transfer had been completed, was false. The funds transferred to the escrow account was deposited into another of Yameen's bank accounts by the previous Minister of Tourism Moosa Zameer.

The police have frozen MVR 100 million in Yameen's bank accounts, stating that questionably large sums of money had been deposited in them during the past five years.

The police also summoned Azima Shukoor and the former tourism minister in relation to the ongoing investigation.

Azima is being accused of money laundering, assisting Yameen's illegal activities and providing false information.

Yameen is also under investigation for a total of MVR 22.2 million deposited into his bank account shortly before the 2018 presidential elections.

The Financial Investigation Unit (FIU) of MMA reported the matter to the police outlining the issue of two deposits, one amounting to MVR 10 million on September 5, and a further deposit of MVR 12.5 million on September 10, made to an account registered at MIB under Yameen’s name.

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