Aarah appeal: State accuse Yameen of attempting to mislead origins of the money

Former president Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom attends a High Court hearing on September 6, 2023.

The prosecution has accused opposition leader, former president Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayyoom of attempting to mislead the origins of the money by transferring from one account to the other.

Yameen was sentenced to 11 years in prison and slapped with a USD 5 million fine on December 25, 2022, after he was found guilty of money laundering and bribery charges in connection to the sale of V. Aarah for resort development.

As hearings in the appeal of the case at High Court nears an end – the prosecution, at Tuesday’s hearing, responded to arguments made by Yameen earlier in the course of the trial. In this regard, the state prosecutor stressed there were factors that proved Yameen’s intention to mislead the origins of the money despite his argument he had no intention to mislead the origin of the money.

The state prosecutor detailed that he attempted to mislead of the origins of the money by transferring it from one account to another, subsequently altering the total amount.

Emphasizing that the origins of the transaction had not been misled despite efforts – the state prosecutor attributed the failure in this trajectory to the existing banking system in the Maldives.

“Have acted in the manner people act to mislead in this case,” the prosecutor added.

The state prosecutor also stressed that Yameen had acted in a manner that a normal person would not have in moving the money, citing he chose the longer and difficult method in moving the money, rather than the direct and easier method; attributing this to an attempt to mislead the total amount of money.

Speaking at Tuesday’s hearing, Yameen said that the main basis of money laundering is unlawfully obtained money.

“There is a wrong intention if the money is stored in an offshore account. That is trying to conceal the money. That money cannot be traced,” he stressed.

With this argument, Yameen went on to say that transferring money between accounts of an individual opened with Maldivian banks cannot be considered as money laundering, adding all transactions are privy to the central bank.