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Delivery of a verdict on ex-president Yameen's money laundering case postponed

DIGEST-Maldives-14-01-2021

The delivery of a ruling regarding former president Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayyoom's appeal trial for his money laundering sentence has been postponed.

Former President Yameen is currently serving a five-year sentence after being found guilty of money laundering in relation to the MMPRC corruption case. He was accused of defying the agreement between himself and the Anti-Corruption Commission, which stipulated the former president to move funds in his Maldives Islamic Bank (MIB) account that are suspected of having been laundered into an escrow account set up between the two parties. Failing to do so, and moving the funds in question into an investment account, the former president deposited funds from another source into the escrow account. Finding him guilty of the charges levied against him, the Criminal Court sentenced the former president to five years in jail and ordered him to pay US$ five million to the state after being found guilty of money laundering on November 28 last year. The case has since been appealed at the High Court, and the trial has reached its end, with only the delivery of a verdict remaining.

The sentencing hearing was previously scheduled for January 14. However, the date has now been changed to Thursday, the 21st of January.

While the president has spent over 400 days in prison on his money laundering conviction, his family and legal team as well as supporters have been expressing concern over the delay in concluding the appeal case.

Two other cases involving the president are currently ongoing in the Criminal Court. In new charges raised against the former president, the Prosecutor General’s Office is seeking a conviction for money laundering and accepting bribery. The two charges were raised against Yameen in relation to the leasing of Fuggiri island of Raa atoll for resort development through Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation (MMPRC), and the trial began last year on November 25th.