Feb. 18 (UPI) -- A former president of the Maldives has been taken into custody until his money laundering trial is completed.
Abdulla Yameen was arrested Monday after prosecutors accused the former president of bribing witnesses to change their testimony.
The jail sentence at Maafushi will prevent him from further influencing the trial. The 59-year-old Yameen faces money laundering charges because prosecutors say he stole $1 million from the country's coffers while in office.
Prosecutors said Yameen used a private company, SOF Private Limited, to funnel the state's money. His bank accounts have been frozen.
Yameen's office has repeatedly denied the charges.
Defense lawyers said the Anti-Corruption Commission "has so far failed to prove" the $1 million transferred to Yameen's account were state funds obtained through corruption. Instead, Yameen contends, the $1 million was given to him for his re-election campaign.
Yameen, who is backed by China, lost his bid for re-election in September. The new regime aligns more closely with India and has started investigating infrastructure deals that Yameen awarded to the Chinese during his term.