22 Jul 2019
Abdulla Yameen, the former president of the Maldives, pled not guilty to charges of money laundering on Sunday, in the first hearing of a criminal court trial into the matter.
Yameen, who drew the Indian Ocean island country closer to China during his tenure, is accused of receiving $1 million of government money through a private company, SOF Private Ltd, which has been implicated in a corrupt deal to lease tropical islands for hotel development.
The corruption scandal, originally uncovered by an internal audit, has also implicated several other leading politicians and businessmen, all of whom have denied any wrongdoing.
SOF Private could not immediately be reached for comment.
Yameen, who unexpectedly lost an election last year, was arrested in February. He has repeatedly denied the allegations against him.
By Mohamed Junayd, Reuters, 21 July 2019
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