Maldives police question ex-strongman after accounts frozen

MALE, Maldives (AP) — Police in the Maldives said they questioned the country’s defeated former strongman president over complaints of alleged illegal financial transactions on Saturday, a day after they froze bank accounts with millions of dollars.

Police said in a statement that they found transactions of big sums of money through accounts opened by Yameen Abdul Gayoom over five years of his presidency. On Friday, they said accounts with nearly $6.5 million in both U.S. dollars and Maldivian currency had been frozen pending further investigations.

Speaking to reporters after the questioning, Yameen said police did not accuse him of any crime. He said police questioned him over cash received ahead of the September presidential election and complaints that $1 million linked to a financial scam allegedly were found in his account. He said the $1 million allegedly linked to a $79 million fraud has already been investigated and that he asked police to get the details from the Anti-Corruption Commission.

He said the money he received ahead of the election was funds deposited into his lawfully declared campaign accounts.

Yameen ruled Maldives from 2013 until he lost an election to Ibrahim Mohamed Solih in September.

His tenure was marked with allegations of misrule, corruption and human rights violations. Solih was elected with promises of a clean government and to investigate alleged misdeeds of Yameen’s administration.

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