Former Maldives President Under Investigation for Money Laundering
Multiple criminal charges have been made against Abdulla Yameen, the former president of the Maldives, including allegedly siphoning $1 million from public funds to his own private accounts.
Yamen’s alleged transaction of government funds from SOF Private Limited to his personal accounts at Maldives International Bank could cost him 15 years in prison, or a fine of $64, 850. The former president is also under investigation for lying to the police about his involvement in a lease deal for hotel development.
The former PM was ordered to return the funds to the Anti-Corruption Commission, the ACC and did so after acquiring another $1 million from former tourism minister, Moosa Zameer. Yameen allegedly kept the illicit funds in his own accounts and has made private investments with the money.
“I transferred the money according to the agreement. In my mind, it is done. That money is there, one million dollars is there. Even with a procedural point, they could have brought it up all these days,” explained Yameen.
Yameen and his legal team deny any involvement with the charges. His lawyers have stated that the charges are an attempt to influence the coming parliamentary elections that are set to occur on April 6.
Following his defeat in the presidential election, Yameen’s private bank accounts have been frozen as part of the investigation. More than $6 million has been seized from his accounts. Subsequently, Yameen lost the presidential election to Ibrahim Solih in September.
Police have also been investigating a false testimony given by Yameen to the ACC, in which $90 million was stolen from the Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation, the MMPRC. Yameen is also going to be questioned for the $1.5 million he received as campaign funds during the last election.
Yameen is one of 155 other private accounts currently under investigation by the ACC for potential money laundering. Aishath Azima Shukoor, Yameen’s former legal affairs minister, has also been charged with assisting money laundering and lying to the police.
“The systemic and organized corruption uncovered in the MMPRC investigation shows that many individuals were complicit in siphoning off public money," commented Mariyam Shiuna, the executive director of Transparency Maldives.