An investigation by Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) has revealed the lack of action on SOF Private Limited – despite its transactions being flagged for money laundering – was at the orders of the former head of the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU), Athif Shakoor.
The ACC released the findings from its investigation into lack of action by FIU despite transactions worth millions by SOF being flagged for money laundering this Tuesday.
ACC’s investigative report refers to an analysis report prepared by FIU on SOF on December 31, 2014, which concluded that the company was laundering money.
HIGHLIGHTS OF FIU’S 2014 REPORT ON SOF
- USD 18.2 million and MVR 59.7 million – totalling USD 22.1 million was deposited to SOF.
- MMPRC deposited USD 5.4 million and MVR 59.75 million (totalling USD 9.1 million) to SOF within the three-month period from August 24 to November 25, 2014.
- Eight cash withdrawals totalling MVR 47.8 million.
- Tax filings and annual reports show SOF is not capable of the level of business to generate large financial transactions.
Athif Shakoor, when questioned by ACC, admitted that he was fully aware SOF was laundering money even as the unit had been in the middle of preparing its analysis report.
He also admitted that he had been fully aware the report needed to be forwarded for further investigation when he made the decision not to share the report with relevant investigative agencies and file it instead.
FIU filed its 2014 analysis report on SOF on April 6, 2015. Athif had served as the head of FIU from December 2014 to June 2015 before resigning.
“Investigators found his action hadn’t been well-intended. There’s also enough evidence and testimony to establish he made the decision for the benefit of a party by misusing his official position,” concludes ACC in its investigative report.
ACC said that it, upon conclusion of its investigation, forwarded the case for charges against Athif for misuse of his official position to the Prosecutor General’s Office on February 18, 2019. It said the PG’s Office rejected the case with the recommendation it is sent to the police for further investigation, and that the ACC forwarded the case to the police for further investigation on February 21, 2019.
ACC’s investigative report also exonerates then-Governor of Maldives Monetary Authority (MMA), Azeema Adam and the head of FIU who prepared the analysis report on FIU from the unit’s decision to file the report.
The commission said it found no evidence Azeema made any recommendation to Athif on what to do with the analysis report though the report was shared by Athif using his personal e-mail account to the official e-mail account of the ex-governor.
“Furthermore, even though the report highlighted suspect money laundering transactions, the commission’s investigators found no evidence to prove the decision not to forward the report to investigative agencies was made at the instruction of, or under pressure from the then-governor,” concluded ACC in its investigative report.
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