Maldives ex-pres taken to Maafushi prison

Former President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayyoom has been taken to Maafushi Prison, in accordance to Criminal Court's orders to keep the former president in custody until the end of his money laundering trial.

Yameen appeared in criminal court in capital Male, on Monday afternoon after the country’s top prosecutor charged him last week with money laundering.

The prosecution asked the court to take Yameen into custody to deny him the chance to influence the evidence against him.

During Monday's hearing, the Prosecutor General submitted documents supporting claims that President Yameen had attempted to influence witnesses through bribery. The state also presented a secret document corroborating allegations that President Yameen attempted to hinder the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) of the central bank from filing an Suspicious Transaction Reporting (STR) with the police regarding his graft allegations.

The judge presiding over the trial granted the prosecution's request to detain the former president in a remand jail until the end of the trial, however, he was taken to Maafushi prison.

The criminal court has already frozen Yameen's local bank account holding MVR100 million (nearly USD6.5 million) which he has appealed.

In addition to Yameen, his top aide and former legal affairs minister Aishath Azima Shakoor has also been charged as an accessory to money laundering.

The much awaited 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 were 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).

Yameen has continued to insist that the funds in his account was for his failed presidential campaign last year.

President Yameen further said that he had reached an agreement with the country's graft watchdog on how to transfer the funds, and the funds were deposited accordingly in June last year.