Court order instructing Yameen to pay state USD 3.4M overturned

PPM's leader, former president Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayyoom seen entering his vehicle. (Sun Photo/Mohamed Hayyan)

High Court, on Tuesday, has overturned Criminal Court’s order instructing opposition leader, former President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayyoom to pay the state USD 3.4 million fine in connection to his money laundering conviction in V. Aarah.

Yameen was sentenced to 11 years in prison and fined USD 5 million for money laundering and bribery in connection to the sale of V. Aarah for resort development on December 25, 2022.

The USD 5 million fine included a USD 3.4 million fine for money laundering and USD 1.6 million fine for bribery.

Criminal Court ordered Yameen to USD 3.4 million from the USD 5 million within six months on February 26th.

Yameen appealed Criminal Court’s order to High Court.

The order by Criminal Court states that Yameen acquired USD 1 million in bribes in connection to the sale of Aarah which was deposited to HSBC, and later to his account at BML.

It further detailed that USD 1.29 million was deposited to Yameen’s account in Maldives Islamic Bank (MIB) on February 21st, 2017.

The order also states Yameen made a 36-month investment with additional monies at an investment account in MIB, totaling up to USD 3.4 million, on March 14, 2021.

Therewith, Criminal Court instructed Yameen to pay the state USD 3.4 million earned through a criminal act alongside the profits earned by investigating.

In his appeal, Yameen’s lawyers said that the law does not recognize orders or judgments issued after the initial judgment in a case in order to complete or alter the judgement in question.

High Court’s judgement on the case on Tuesday cited the prosecution’s failure to provide a reasonable response to the appeal argument. The three judges who presided over the case, therewith, unanimously decided to overturn Criminal Court’s judgment.

The judges bench was chaired by Judge Mohamed Faisal who was accompanied by Judge Hassan Shafeeu and Judge Dheebanaz Fahumy.