Former president Abdulla Yameen’s bank accounts have been frozen with more than MVR100 million (US$6.5 million) in US dollars and local currency, police revealed after he was questioned Saturday afternoon.
Yameen told reporters he was not accused of a crime and condemned the police summons as “politically motivated.”
Police asked about campaign contributions and US$1 million from a company linked to a massive corruption scandal under his watch. The donations were made to an account declared for campaign expenses since 2013, he said. In the other case, he referred the police to the statement he gave for an investigation conducted by the anti-corruption watchdog.
“Police did not tell us what was suspicious or illegal about any of these transactions,” his lawyer Azima Shukoor said.
According to police, the suspected transactions were reported by state institutions. The investigation has so far established that large sums of money were deposited into the president’s accounts while he was in office, police said in a statement.
Yameen answered questions and pledged to cooperate, it added.
In early October, Al Jazeera reported that police were alerted by the central bank’s anti-money laundering watchdog to US$1.5 million deposited into Yameen’s private bank account at the Maldives Islamic Bank, ten days before the September 23 election.
The bank was told the money was campaign contributions and “the whole amount was later withdrawn in hard currency,” according to a confidential letter sent from the Financial Intelligence Unit.
The election law requires candidates to “open an account in his own name in a bank operated in the Maldives in order to spend on election related expenses.” Financial contributions must also be deposited in the same account.
Supporters squared off with protesters calling for his arrest as Yameen was questioned at the police headquarters in Malé. Activists from opposition and pro-government parties clashed verbally across a line of police officers.