Bassam charged with embezzlement, money laundering

FAM’s former president Bassam Adeel Jaleel. (Photo/FAM)

The former president of the Football Association of Maldives (FAM), Bassam Adeel Jaleel has been pressed with embezzlement and money laundering charges, after an investigation uncovered that he stole USD 10,000 in funds issued by FIFA for personal use.

In a press briefing on Wednesday, the police said they were investigating a big case involving the theft of a huge amount of money sent by FIFA to FAM. The police are investigating individual transactions in the case.

In a statement on Thursday, the Prosecutor General’s Office (PGO) said it has charged Bassam with one count of embezzlement and one count of money laundering.

According to the PGO, Bassam was found to have embezzled USD 10,000 in funds wired by the FIFA to FAM in August 2018.

Bassam wrote “sale of dollar” as the reason for the transfer of the funds from FAM’s account to his own account at the Bank of Ceylon, but investigators found no evidence the equivalent Rufiyaa was ever deposited to FAM’s account, reads the PGO statement.

Investigators tracked the funds to a USD 1,910 transfer to a private bank account in September 2018, after which it was used for expenses of Glacier Investments – a company he owns shares in.

Another USD 2,000 was used to pay the rent on his apartment at Rehendhi Residence.

Bassam faces a one-year, seven-month and six-day minimum mandatory sentence for embezzlement, and a prison sentence of five to 15 years for money laundering, with a possible fine of MVR 100,000 to MVR 1 million.

He also faces more charges as the police investigate additional cases related to corruption within the FAM, including the embezzlement of USD 1.9 million in funds during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Bassam has repeatedly denied the allegations against him.

The police launched the investigation into the FAM on October 22, 2023, on special orders from the prosecutor general.