Maldives ex-pres appeals arrest at High Court

Former President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayyoom has appealed the Criminal Court's order for his arrest.

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.

The Progressive coalition, an alliance made between Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) and Peoples' National Congress (PNC) revealed the new development on Tuesday.

"We would like to inform [our supporters] that we have appealed the court order to take President Yameen into custody at the High Court today", said Abdul Raheem Abdulla, loyalist of President Yameen and founder of PNC.

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, upoin which he was arrested and taken to Maafushi remand 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.