Former President Abdulla Yameen fibbed at court during Sunday’s hearing of his money laundering trial.
While Yameen is accused of laundering USD one million embezzled through the state-owned Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation (MMPRC), he has claimed that there were already millions in his account.
However, a report publicized by the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) revealed that Yameen’s dollar account in the Maldives Islamic Bank (MIB) was opened six days prior to the transfer of the USD one million, on 7th October 2015. The report also stated that the only other money deposited to the account was the USD 250 used to open the account.
At Sunday’s hearing, state’s attorney said that the USD one million was deposited to Yameen in two transactions; USD 500,000 on 13th October 2015 and the rest two days later.
ACC confirmed that “no deposits had been made to his MIB account prior to this.”
The former president also spoke at Sunday’s hearing, and claimed that he was not aware that the money was through SoF -private company used to launder money through MMPRC- and that he only learned of it in 2016 when ACC’s then-President Hassan Luthufee informed him of the matter “through a phone call.”
Yameen said that his then-deputy, Ahmed Adeeb had handled his campaign finances, and that he had asked Adeeb to hand them over in October.
He noted that Adeeb is to have told him that the money had been deposited to his account, but that the bank had not notified him. He added that none of the investigative bodies have told him to handover the money “to date.”
Following an investigation into the matter, Yameen was asked to transfer the said USD one million to an escrow account under an agreement with ACC.
It was later revealed that the funds transferred to this account was not from his MIB account, but that it was acquired through a third party.
The state said that Yameen is to have transferred the original USD one million to a “general investment account” at BML.
While the former president claimed that it was his idea to open an escrow account as he did not want to hold on to suspicious funds, he claims that the million dollars is still there.
“Once I was told that an SoF cheque was deposited in my account I told them that I didn’t want to keep it in my account if it belongs to the state. Back then I had about USD three to four million in my account, not just the USD one million transferred through SoF. I was at the highest order then, there was no reason for me to keep funds that belonged to the state. It was the ACC’s responsibility to find out if the transactions were illegal. Once I am told that the funds are illegal and that I need to return it, I will”
~ Abdulla Yameen
He further claimed that the reason the USD one million was not transferred to the escrow account because he “did not want to touch it as the funds were being investigated.”
The former president also insisted that he did not have any links to SoF.
“I do not know them.”
~ Abdulla Yameen