Stealing Paradise

Uncovering a world of corruption in the holiday paradise of the Maldives; where millions have been stolen and justice denied.

Al Jazeera’s Investigative Unit uncovers a $1.5 billion money laundering scheme involving Singaporean and Malaysian businessmen that leads to the tropical paradise of the Maldives. Our undercover reporter, posing as a wealthy investment broker, meets a Kuala Lumpur based-financier who offers to launder “palettes” stacked with cash.   Our investigation then takes us to the Maldives, where we uncover corruption at the heart of the tiny holiday nation. We collect evidence that a judge accepted state funds, and show how the former vice president, now in jail, was involved in plots to benefit from the sale of islands and lagoons.   It was evidence gathered from three of the former vice president’s mobile phones. Before he was jailed, he handed them to a friend who passed them to Al Jazeera’s Investigative Unit. They include selfies, emails and text messages, many of which paint a portrait of a corrupt political class led by President Abdulla Yameen, which has sold off paradise islands for its own personal enrichment.