Male, Nov 28: Former Maldives President Abdulla Yameen was sentenced to five years of imprisonment in a money laundering case on Thursday.
A five bench panel of a court in Maldives also odered Yameen to pay a USD 5 million fine in the case.
The court ruling found the 60-year old guilty of laundering over USD 1 million of state money for personal gain, Maldives Independent reported.
The panel ruled that Yameen invested the money despite reasonable grounds to suspect that it was ill-gotten and violated an agreement signed with the Anti-Corruption Commission to hold the USD1 million in an escrow account.
The new bench has announced the verdict after Judge Ahmed Halin was suspended hours before he was to announce the verdict on November 5.
Yameen's supporters including former ministers and lawmakers protested outside the criminal court during the hearing. They have accused the government of "hijacking" the judiciary.
Yesterday, Yameen warned supporters to beware of "vultures" who might take over the opposition coalition if he is sent to prison.
"If I am not here, don't let vultures straddle my party. That's not something that should be allowed at all," he appealed.
Maldives ex-president Abdulla Yameen gets 5 years jail for money laundering