A money laundering case against the Maldives president has been forwarded by the central bank to police but remains uninvestigated, local media reported Saturday.
According to Raajje.mv, a money laundering case involving transactions worth millions of rufiyaa linked to President Abdulla Yameen was reported mid-September to police by the Maldives Monetary Authority’s Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU).
According to CNM, the FIU wrote to police on September 13 asking for the case to be investigated. But there is still no active investigation and police have not decided to reject the case either, the website reported
A police spokesman refused to comment.
Mohamed Nasih, a central bank official, said he could neither confirm nor deny whether a case had been sent to police.
“Under the Anti-Money Laundering Act, we are not allowed to disclose whether or not we have sent any particular case to an investigation authority,” he told the Maldives Independent.
“Even though the FIU is an institution within the MMA, it operates completely independently,” he said.
Yameen has been dogged by graft allegations since he took office, including that he was involved in the country’s biggest ever corruption scandal tied to the state-owned Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation (MMPRC).
In 2016 a deposit slip made public showed US$500,000 was deposited into a Maldives Islamic Bank account in Yameen’s name.
Some US$80million, paid as acquisition fees for tourism leases, had been siphoned off since Yameen assumed power, according to an audit report issued in 2016.
The anti-money laundering law requires the FIU to look into unusually large transactions and all unusual transaction patterns.. But the MMPRC case went unreported until former vice president Ahmed Adeeb’s arrest in October 2015.
Earlier this month, the main opposition Maldivian Democratic Party renewed allegations about a plot to launder US$1.5 billion in cash through Maldivian banks in 2015. It cited a report by KRyS Global, a Cayman Islands-based asset recovery firm.
The plot was also featured in the Al Jazeera documentary Stealing Paradise, along with the MMPRC scam. According to the documentary, the money was to be flown to the Maldives and transferred to a vault at the central bank under the supervision of local soldiers, after which it was to be credited to a private company account and transferred out.
It showed a late-2014 chat log between Adeeb and Dr Azeema Adam, the former central bank governor, who expressed misgivings but suggested it could be done with evidence showing the source of the funds and legitimacy of earnings.