Court to recommence ex-president's money laundering trial, on Thursday

Court to recommence ex-president's money laundering trial, on Thursday

Former President Abdulla Yameen will return to Criminal Court on Thursday, for a hearing in the money laundering allegations against him.

The first and only hearing in the case was held in February, where the court ordered to keep him in remand until the trial concludes.

However, High Court ordered his release in late March, noting that the maximum period of detention in such a case is 30 days.

Criminal Court had made the order after prosecutors accused the former president of witness tampering.

Yameen is accused of being involved in the biggest corruption scandal in the country’s history, and was questioned by police twice since his defeat in last year’s presidential elections.

While Yameen is to have questioned the delay in raising charges against him, at the preliminary hearing, the state prosecutor noted that he had used his powers to block any investigation into the Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation (MMPRC) embezzlement.

Police had also sought separate charges against Yameen over alleged false testimony to the ACC, after Yameen claimed that the USD one million had been transferred to his escrow account. However, he later admitted that the money handed over to the ACC-held account was not the US$1 million from SOF, but borrowed from then-Tourism Minister Moosa Zameer. He also admitted to transferring the USD one million in question “to an investment account at the Islamic Bank.”

Yameen defended this, saying “one million for one million was deposited to the escrow account.”

Azima Shakoor, his administration’s legal affairs director has been charged with accessory to money-laundering and providing false information to the authorities, in the president’s case.

The high court also released Yameen’s bank accounts in March, eight of which were frozen as requested by the Maldives Police Service. Police said that its investigation showed that large sums of money had been deposited to these accounts during his five-year term as president.