Maldives ex-pres summoned again as police probe money laundering allegations

Police on Tuesday summoned former president Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom a third time for questioning who is facing allegations of money laundering and providing false information to the country's Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC).

Police confirmed that the embattled former president was summoned to its headquarters in the capital Male at 2.30pm on Tuesday.

Police had grilled Yameen for four hours on Sunday in connection to a deposit he made to Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC).

Police later said the former president has been accused of money laundering and providing false information to the ACC related to the investigation into the largest corruption scandal in the country's history.

The official audit report into the Maldives Media and PR Corporation (MMPRC) scandal, had revealed that over USD79 million had been embezzled through the state tourism promotion company.

The funds received by MMPRC was distributed through a private company called SOF Private Limited with strong links to the now jailed former vice president Ahmed Adheeb Abdul Ghafoor.

Shortly after the scandal was uncovered, USD1 million was deposited by SOF to Yameen's personal account at the Maldives Islamic Bank (MIB).

"No authorities have confirmed that the funds in the SOF account corresponds to the funds embezzled from MMPRC," Yameen said adding that he does not even believe that he was obliged to pay back the amount to ACC from his own accounts.

It was initially believed that the police were looking to question Yameen over the alleged USD1.5 million he received for the elections.

Al Jazeera cited a confidential letter sent the country's anti-money laundering body to the police saying the then president received the money in two installments to a private bank account at the Maldives Islamic Bank (MIB).

The document from the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU), an agency under the Maldives' central bank, was dated September 13 and was addressed to the then acting police commissioner Abdulla Nawaz.

In the letter, the FIU said a third party deposited USD648,508 in hard currency into the president's account on September 5. Another USD810,635 was deposited to the same account on September 10.

The whole amount was later withdrawn in hard currency, Al Jazeera said referring to the letter.

The former president has continued to deny the allegations insisting that he had done nothing wrong.

Speaking to the press following the questioning on Sunday, President Yameen had revealed he was questioned by the police on claims by the ACC that he had deposited the amount ordered by ACC against its instructions given.

The ex-president said it was "wrong to even believe that he would do anything wrong" as while he was the leader of the country until last November.

President Yameen further said that he had reached an agreement was with the ACC on how to transfer the funds, and the funds were deposited accordingly in June last year.