Verdict on Yameen's money laundering case to be announced on November 17

Criminal Court of Maldives has scheduled the verdict hearing on the money laundering case against former President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom for November 17.

The former president is accused of laundering USD 1 million from Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation (MMPRC) via SOF Private Limited. Yameen is accused of laundering the funds for financial gain, regardless of instructions from Anti-Corruption Commission to deposit the amount to an escrow account.

However, the state revealed the funds deposited to an escrow account were from a close ally of Yameen, former Minister of Tourism Moosa Zameer. The state has accused Yameen had kept the USD 1 million in a saving account and had generated profits.

Criminal Court had initially scheduled the hearing for November 5, although the session was later cancelled after Judicial Service Commission suspended Chief Judge Ahmed Hailam, who was presiding over the case. Hailam was suspended until the completion of the investigation to the disciplinary case filed against him.

Judge Ali Rasheed Hussain has been assigned the authority of the Criminal Court during Hailam's 60-day suspension period.

The Criminal Procedure Code allows the court to appoint another judge to preside over a case and gives the judge the authority to continue the case or to start over. The court has not yet clarified on how the case against Yameen will be handled with the appointment of a new judge.

If found guilty, the former president faces a jail sentence between 5-10 years in addition to a hefty fine.