A criminal court in Male, the Capital of Maldives, on Monday ordered the detention of former President Abdulla Yameen over charges of money laundering. Government prosecutors told the court that the former president attempted to bribe a witness to change or retract a statement, the Maldives Independent reported.

The prosecutors submitted a document based on verbal testimony as evidence in court. Chief Judge Ahmed Hailam then granted authorities custody of Yameen. He was taken to the custodial centre on the Dhoonidhoo island.

Yameen was the president of Maldives from 2013 to 2018. On Monday, the criminal court began preliminary hearings into a plea that claimed Yameen received nearly $1.5 million (Rs 10.8 crore) in illicit payments before he lost the reelection in September last year, NDTV reported. The court had earlier frozen Yameen’s bank accounts, holding about $6.5 million (Rs 46.4 crore).

However, MPs of Yameen’s party, the Progressive Party of Maldives, lashed out at the court’s decision on Monday. MP Abdul Raheem Abdulla claimed that the government feared the opposition could win a majority of seats if Yameen was allowed to campaign.

“President Yameen could be detained and jailed as well,” MP Ahmed Nihan said. “But the development ideology he brought cannot be jailed.”

The police had on Sunday also charged Yameen with alleged false testimony to the Anti-Corruption Commission, and former legal affairs minister Aishath Azima Shukoor of assisting with money laundering.