Bassam named prime suspect in FAM corruption

FAM’s president Bassam Adeel Jaleel. (Photo/FAM)

Prosecutor General Hussain Shameem confirmed on Thursday that Bassan Adeel Jaleel, the president of the Football Association of Maldives (FAM), is the prime suspect in the corruption investigation launched against the association.

In a press briefing on Thursday afternoon, Shameem said that the investigation was launched at the instructions of the Prosecutor General’s Office, and that evidence in the case has been collected from both the police and the Maldives Monetary Authority (MMA).

“We hope to collect enough evidence to file formal charges with the court within the next two weeks,” he said, adding that the investigators were conducting a swift investigation.

Shameem said FAM’s top officials are suspected of misappropriating the funds it received from the international governing body of association football, FIFA.

“As you know, the funds FIFA sends to FAM aren’t for FAM, its for Maldivian citizens. They are entrusted with funds to the people. In this case, this was done in violation of Maldives’ laws and regulations,” he said.

“We have seen a huge amount of the money circulated in different ways.”

Shameem said investigators are able to collect key evidence in such financial crime investigations, committed through bank cards. He said that the suspects had used their bank cards for payments during trips, making the hotels and the shopping malls they visited known.

He said that the authorities need some additional evidence before they can file formal charges.

“The thing is, certain documents weren’t stored in a manner that normal human beings do it. So, there are certain challenges to finding and reviewing it,” he said.

Shameem said they expect to find the evidence in the coming days.

The police had raided the FAM House at PGO’s instructions on October 23, during which investigators were seen seizing dozens of box files.

Bassam previously stated he would make a comment once the police finish their investigation.