Malé, Maldives – Ramiza Ali, M. Kuredhimaage was charged with money laundering at a hearing at the Criminal Court today.
Ramiza is charged with money laundering for using money obtained through drug-trafficking by husband Hassan Looth after his arrest.
Ramiza is charged under the Prevention of Money Laundering and Financing of Terrorism Act (10/2014). The act states that,
- A person who commits the offence of money laundering … is liable to pay a fine between MVR 100,000 and MVR 1,000,000 with imprisonment between 5 to 15 years, or to pay a fine not exceeding five times the amount of the laundered funds with imprisonment between 5 to 15 years.
Police found MVR 1.466 million in cash at the couple’s residence, M. Kuredhimaage, Malé with an additional MVR 95,510 and MVR 194,170 transferred by husband Looth to accounts under Ramiza’s name in Maldives Islamic Bank (MIB) and Bank of Maldives (BML) respectively. Looth also transferred MVR 103,370 to an account at MIB under the couple’s son’s name.
While prosecution states that Ramiza had used money acquired through drug trafficking, her defense lawyer states that Ramiza was out of the city when the incidents occurred, arriving in Malé a week after husband Looth’s arrest from GDh. Thinadhoo.
Ramiza pleads not guilty claiming that she was unaware that the money she used was obtained through drug trafficking by her husband.
The defense further added that since Looth conducts various businesses including rentals and launch operations, while Ramiza herself is a businesswoman, money obtained through drug trafficking is difficult to ascertain.
Hassan Looth has yet to be convicted of drug trafficking.
This is one of the first instances in Maldives’ history that a money laundering charge has been made for drug trafficking.