COLOMBO, February 13: Maldives’ former president Abdulla Yameen, who is accused of using money stolen from state coffers, was charged with money laundering on Wednesday, according to a local media report.
The case stems from an allegedly shady deal to lease islands for tourist resort development and the discovery of $1 million in his bank account.
The case has been filed at the criminal court, the prosecutor general’s office tweeted on Wednesday.
Yameen, who lost the presidential election to Ibrahim Mohamed Solih in September 2018 after a five-year rule, is accused of using money stolen from state coffers, police said last week, after wrapping up investigations, The Maldives Independent reported.
Under the 2014 anti-money laundering law, the offence carries a prison sentence between five to 15 years or a fine of up to $64,850.
Separate charges were sought over alleged false testimony to the anti-corruption commission during its investigation into the theft of $90 million from the Maldives marketing and public relations corporation (MMPRC), the paper said.
Yameen was questioned in December over $1 million deposited to his personal account by SOF, a local company that was used to funnel resort acquisition fees paid to the MMPRC.
“The SOF company which benefited from the funds stolen from MMPRC deposited $1 million to Yameen’s account at the Maldives Islamic Bank. Yameen was ordered to return the state funds, but the investigation found that he had profited by not handing over the money and by carrying out transactions,” police said.
Yameen denies any wrongdoing. Last week, his legal team dismissed the charges as an attempt to influence the April 6 parliamentary elections.
“The ACC has so far been unable to prove that the $1 million transferred to Yameen’s account in MIB by the SOF company was state funds earned through
corruption,” lawyers contended in a statement.(PTI)