Maldives former president Gayoom arrested for tourism related crime

Maldives former president Gayoom arrested for tourism related crime

Maldives investigators found $1 million in former president Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom bank account allegedly linked to a deal to lease public islands for tourism development in the Maldives.

Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom was the 6th president of the Maldives from 2013-2018. He left the office on November 17, 2018, after losing the election when he was seeking another 5 years. He was member of the Progressive Party. He served as the Minister of Tourism and Civil Aviation in 2008 under president Maumoon Abdul Gayoom.

In 2015 he addressed the 27th joint meeting of the UNWTO Commission for East Asia and the Pacific held at Maldives Bandos Island Resort and Spa June 3-5.

On 28 September 2015, an explosion took place on board the presidential yacht ‘Finifenmaa’ carrying Yameen and his wife along with top government officials from the airport island Hulhulé as it was nearing to dock at the presidential jetty, Izzuddeen Faalan in Malé. Yameen escaped unhurt, but the first lady, a presidential aide, and a bodyguard were injured. The first lady sustained minor fractures to her spine and was hospitalized.

Yesterday Yameen was charged with money laundering for alleged involvement in the embezzlement of Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corp. funds.

Police say investigators found $1 million in Yameen’s bank account allegedly linked to a deal to lease public islands for tourism development in the Maldives, an Indian Ocean archipelago famous for its luxury resorts.

President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih also suspended two Cabinet ministers  Ahmed Maloof and Akram Kamaludeen over $33,000 allegedly found in each of their accounts from the same resort development deal.

State prosecutor Aishath Mohamed said documents showed that Yameen had attempted to influence witnesses and had offered them money to change their statements.

Referring to the statement, Chief Judge Ahmed Hailam ordered Yameen to be kept in detention until the end of the trial.

Dozens of Yameen’s political opponents including his half-brother, Maumoon Abdul Gayoom were jailed during Yameen’s term in office following trials that were widely criticized for lacking due process.


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Another ex-president, Mohamed Nasheed, who spent a year in jail on a terrorism conviction under Yameen before winning political asylum in Britain, returned to the Maldives after Yameen’s defeat. The Supreme Court annulled his conviction in November.

 

Author: Juergen T Steinmetz

Juergen Thomas Steinmetz has continuously worked in the travel and tourism industry since he was a teenager in Germany (1979), beginning as a travel agent up through today as a publisher of eTurboNews (eTN), one of the world’s most influential and most-read travel and tourism publications. He is also Chairman of ICTP. His experiences include working and collaborating with various national tourism offices and non-governmental organizations, as well as private and non-profit organizations, and in planning, implementing, and quality control of a range of travel and tourism-related activities and programs, including tourism policies and legislation. His major strengths include a vast knowledge of travel and tourism from the point of view of a successful private enterprise owner, superb networking skills, strong leadership, excellent communication skills, strong team player, attention to detail, dutiful respect for compliance in all regulated environments, and advisory skills in both political and non-political arenas with respect to tourism programs, policies, and legislation. He has a thorough knowledge of current industry practices and trends and is a computer and Internet junkie.

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