K. Male'
25 Nov 2021 | Thu 17:21
Former President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom
Former President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom
Yoosuf Sofwan Rasheed
Ex-President Yameen
Money laundering charges raised against Yameen over V. Aarah case
The report states that Yameen laundered USD one million
His lawyers earlier stated that this is being done by the government, with the motive of politically torturing their client
The case was forwarded for prosecution in April

Abdulla Yameen, former president of Maldives has been charged with money laundering, over the leasing of Aarah island in Vaavu atoll to a foreign party for resort development.

The Prosecutor General’s Office revealed that Yameen is accused of misusing his official authority to launder USD one million in connection to the lease of Aarah, to Noonu atoll Velidhoo native Yoosuf Naeem for resort development, the latter has also been charged.

Two counts of money laundering charges have been raised against Yameen while Naeem, also a former parliamentarian, faces one charge.

Yameen is charged under Article 53 (a), 5(a) (2) in reference to (3), as well as under Article 53(b), (6) and (7) of the Anti-Money Laundering and Terrorism Financing Act, for laundering money. The second charge comes under Section 510 of the Penal Code, for accepting bribes.

Naeem is charged under Section 510 of the Maldives Penal Code, for bribery.

The island near V. Thinadhoo, used as a picnic island, was initially awarded to a local company in which former leader of Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP) Ahmed Thasmeen Ali has a share. The island was sold off to former MP for Felidhoo constituency, Naeem during September 2015. Naeem is believed to have been a close ally of the former president.

He is to have sold the island to a foreign company later, the deal through which Yameen pocketed the USD one million.

Yameen was questioned by the Maldives Police Service (MPS) in connection to the case, back in July.

The police institution had concluded investigations into the Aarah sale case in late April, and had even forwarded the case for prosecution.

This was revealed by Mohamed Jameel Ahmed, one of the lawyers on the former president’s legal representation team. Confirming that his client was summoned in regards to a case of which investigations had earlier concluded, he said that the case 'has been reopened once more'.

Jameel said that his client was innocent and that the Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation (MMPRC) case is not linked to him in any way.

Jameel, who was Yameen's running mate in 2013 and later impeached, indicated that Yameen's innocence's can be proven from parliament who he noted has a list of "true suspects" in the MMPRC case. He noted that this list has been shared with the asset recovery commission as well.

The incarcerated ex-president’s legal team accused the government of politically torturing him through a plot.

Yameen was sentenced to five years in prison on 28 November 2019, after being found guilty of laundering USD one million through state-owned MMPRC via a private company, SoF, during his presidential tenure. He was also slapped with a fine totaling USD five million, along with the jail sentence, to be settled within six months.

The ex-president was transferred to house arrest in April, in the middle of Ramadan 1442 after receiving the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine and at a time reports were confirmed that officers at the Maafushi Prison tested positive for the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

Yameen is also being tried for fresh new charges linked to the MMPRC scandal. As such, he faced charges of bribery and money laundering in connection to the leasing of Fuggiri island in Raa atoll. He was charged in connection to the case during June 2020.

Last updated at: 1 year ago
Reviewed by: Imad Latheef