The Criminal Court on Sunday cancelled a hearing in the bribery and money laundering trial of former President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom and his close associate Ahmed Kurik Riza. The case revolves around the leasing of Fuggiri Island, Raa Atoll, for resort development in 2015.
Yameen is already serving an 11-year prison sentence on charges of money laundering which stemmed from the lease of Aarah, Vaavu Atoll, for resort development through the Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation (MMPRC). He is now being tried on charges of money laundering and accepting a bribe of US$1.1 million in exchange for the lease of Fuggiri to a Dubai-based company in September 2015.
Former Vice President Ahmed Adeeb, who is currently serving time after being convicted on multiple charges of corruption relating to the MMPRC scandal, testified mid-June that Riza helped deposit US$1.3 million received in kickbacks in Yameen’s account, which was funnelled through two subsidiaries of the Sun Group: Sun Investments Private Limited and Sun Construction and Engineering Private Limited.
Riza, the former Deputy Managing Director of the Maldives Transport and Contracting Company (MTCC), is accused of acting as a middle man in funneling and laundering the money. Sunday’s hearing was called off after Riza’s attorneys submitted medical certificates to prove he was unfit to appear in court. The Sun Group subsidiaries are also facing money laundering charges in the Fuggiri case, but they deny the charges.
The Criminal Court has scheduled multiple hearings in the trial for Tuesday and next week.
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