US man awaits imminent deportation

The American citizen John Seyfert arrested over a visa violation would be deported as soon as the US government issues him a new passport, Maldives immigration said Sunday.

The Immigration Department in a joint operation with Police on Wednesday had arrested four foreigners without a valid visa including the 76 year old Seyfert.

Immigration spokesperson Hassan Khaleel said US embassy officials had flown down from Sri Lanka to issue Seyfert with a new passport.

"He will be deported as soon as his passport is issued," Khaleel added.

US Embassy in Sri Lanka in a statement had said the 'main priority of the United States’ Department of State is to protect US citizens living abroad.'

However, the US Embassy declined to give further comment on the matter "over privacy considerations."

Seyfert has been living in the reclaimed suburb Hulhumale for several years and was had reportedly opened a guesthouse in the island with local partner.

People close to Seyfert have claimed over social media that the American citizen had been cheated out of the business by his partner, deceived him with a forged business visa and later stolen his passport.

Police confirmed that Seyfert's passport had been stolen and the report was filed in 2014.
Seyfert's attorney Ali Azim had told Avas that his client had received multiple death threats trying to force him to leave the country.

Azim said Seyfert had invested his entire pension on the guesthouse and had stayed to fight for his rights.

According to Azim, Seyfert had won a USD42,000 lawsuit against his business partners which however had been appealed at the appellate court.

Seyfert's passport was reportedly first stolen from the safe of his business partner. After he had made a new passport, it was stolen again from his room in a guesthouse in Hulhumale where he was living at the time, Azim added.

Seyfert had reportedly tried to obtain another passport after it was stolen for the second time but the US embassy in Sri Lanka had promised to send an official down to Maldives.

"But we haven't heard anything since," Azim had said.