Former Maldives President Abdullah Yameen Abdul Gayoon pleaded not guilty for charges of money laundering. The Maldivian Police files the cases of grand corruption, money laundering, and theft.
Yameen was the 6th president of the Maldives, famous for pulling the Maldives closer to China.
Gayoon served the island country from 2013 to 2018 and left his office on the 17th of November 2018. He lost in the 2018 Maldivian Presidential election after he sought another 5-year term.
The arrest of the former president was in February of this year.
The first-ever televised trial in the Maldives was his trial for money laundering. The label for the broadcast was a historic move for the Maldivian media.
The Maldivian police filed the case along with the country’s Persecutor General – the most massive corruption scandal in the Indian Ocean Country.
The presidential office released a statement earlier this year asking citizens to report any data regarding corruption and abuse made during Yameen’s administration.
Two bank cheques which reportedly had one million US dollars issued by the SOF Private Limited which deposited to the former president’s private savings account at Maldives Islamic Bank.
The amount deposited to his general investments accounts in MIB. SOF Pvt Ltd allegedly embezzled funds by Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation.
The escrow account was meant to keep the funds in question until the investigation, but the money deposited in the report were not from Yameen’s account.
The former president’s Tourism Minister Moosa Zameer supposedly had made the one million US dollar deposit.
The depositing of funds from another source and the failure to transfer original funds to the escrow account were suspicious.
The distrustful action quickly pushed the Persecutor General to file charges of money laundering and corruption against Yameen.
Former President Abdullah Yameen’s final preliminary hearing was held at the country’s Criminal Court in Haveeree Hingun, Maldives.
Abdulla Yameen has pleaded not guilty in the court on Sunday. His defense was that he did not transfer the funds to the escrow account that was organized by the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) and himself.
Yameen revealed that it was his idea to request an escrow account. He said that he did not want to keep ‘suspicious’ funds in his personal account. However, the escrow account contained an agreement clause prohibiting illicit activities.
Yameen said that he avoided touching the funds in his personal account because he believed that conducting transactions using the same funds may be considered as an illegal business.
The former president said that there should not be any charges because he still handed over the one million US dollars under the supervision of the ACC.
He said that tracking down the exact one million US dollars in his account was impossible. He is adding that there was already 3-4 million US dollars in the account before the deposit.
The state had requested two witnesses to testify against Yameen; however, Chief Judge Ahmed Hailam, the presiding judge did not accept them.
The defense got five days to look for witnesses for Yameen. The recordings of the statements of the witnesses will occur on the next trail.
The following hearing will be held on August 4. And if Yameen is guilty, he will face prison for 5 to 15 years.