Hoax photo of Nasheed meeting Artur Brothers circulated by State Defence Minister turns into meme

A photograph widely distributed by local media outlets depicting former President Mohamed Nasheed and his Special Envoy Ibrahim Hussain Zaki meeting the infamous Armenian ‘Artur Brothers’ has turned out to be a hoax.

The Armenian brothers – linked with drug trafficking, money laundering, raids on media outlets and other serious crimes in Kenya – were recently photographed with current Minster of Tourism Ahmed Adheeb and Defence Minister Ahmed Nazim during the Piston Motor Racing Challenge, organised by the Maldivian National Defence Force (MNDF).

The two ministers initially denied any involvement with the brothers or their apparent business interests in the Maldives, however a letter from the Tourism Ministry to immigration authorities requesting a residency visa for Margaryan and Sargsyan Artur, dated January 27 and signed by Adheeb, was subsequently leaked on social media.

Zaidul Khaleel, General Manager of the Club Faru resort which is operated by the state-owned Maldives Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC),  has also reportedly been sacked after he was found to have paid the brothers’ US$6000 bill.

Meanwhile, on Sunday a photo depicting former President Nasheed and Special Envoy and former SAARC Secretary General Ibrahim Hussain Zaki apparently meeting Artur Sargsyan was leaked on social media and widely republished by local media.

Local media outlet Channel News Maldives (CNM) reported that the photograph was originally leaked by the former Immigration Controller and current State Minister for Defence, Ilyas Hussain.

However the photograph turned out to be an edited photo taken during a formal reception for US Deputy Secretary of State James Steinberg, held at the former Presidential residence of Muleaage in January 2011, with Sargsyan Artur’s head carefully photo-shopped onto Steinberg.

According to CNM, Ilyas at the time confirmed to the media outlet that the photo of Nasheed with Artur Sargsyan was real and authentic.

Speaking to Minivan News, Ilyas Hussain stated that he no longer wished to comment on the matter.

Following the publication of the leaked photo, a member of President Waheed’s Gaumee Ithihaad Party (GIP) told Minivan News that Waheed had prepared a press conference following the release of the edited photo, but later called it off after the photo was discovered to be a hoax.

Minivan News was unable to confirm the claim as President’s Office Spokesperson Masood Imad was not responding at time of press.

The photo has since gone viral across Maldivian social media and has been widely photoshopped to depict Nasheed meeting a wide variety of celebrities and fictional characters.

The meme has blossomed to include Nasheed encountering deceased Chairman of Apple Inc, Steve Jobs, Albert Einstein, Justin Beiber, Professional Wrestler/Rapper/Actor John Cena, the Pope, popular antagonist of the Star Wars franchise Darth Vader, fictional lead character in the Sacha Baron Cohen comedy ‘Dictator’ Admiral General Haffaz Aladeen, DC Comics superhero Batman, Rowan Atkinson’s UK comedy icon Mr Bean, and ‘Big Bird’ from US children’s television show Sesame Street.


12 thoughts on “Hoax photo of Nasheed meeting Artur Brothers circulated by State Defence Minister turns into meme”

  1. This is part ofthe endless search to discredit Nasheed. And as usual, it ends up showing how stupid and dishonest Ilyas is in underestimating our intelligence.It is also telling that Waheed was gullible enough to prepare a press-conference based on this hoax. And Kuribee, a word of advice! Sometimes it is best to be silent- you have an incredible ability to only open your mouth to change feet!

  2. Sorry to hear about that, but it was a person who TAG him in face book which i also got same Tag with him and in the case in believe some media call that was true photo that does not means him. Dont blame each person because of his weakness he told media it was a true photo. other wise must say all photos that was in Face book...

  3. Who is CNM? never heard about them before..

    The largest and well known Local media outlets are Haveeru and Sun.. they don't do these kinda BS..

  4. If each and every one of us decided firmly to stop telling lies... we could finally start rebuilding our nation. And REBUILDING it needs!!!

  5. Is Rowan Atkinson’s UK comedy icon Mr Bean any different to the first mentioned Mr Bean?

  6. Hey these brother were first brought and formed the company with the senior activist of MDP.

    Check who is the local shareholder of the company that was formed by these brothers.

    Original mentioned above is the edited one and edited photo is the original photo.

    There seemed to be more of this photos available.

  7. @Ann the photo and news was reported in Sun.

    @Kuribee. yes. The original was a pic of me. Anni and Zaki were both photoshopped in later.

  8. "The largest and well known Local media outlets are Haveeru and Sun.. they don’t do these kinda BS.."

    I saw the fake photo first published on Sun.

    "Jaanalizam" by "experienced Journalist" Hiriga's newspaper.

  9. @ Ann check this out: http://www.sun.mv/28960 and also the link : http://www.sun.mv/28961 ... epic fail.... just observe the difference in lighting not even a good photoshoper 😛

  10. And I actually believed he met Big Bird...
    now I am very saddened 🙁

  11. @Kuribee, yes. The shareholder was an MDP person. He was specially selected to infiltrate the agency; he managed to intercept the necessary files and pass it on to us. From there, we began to unravel the lies of your masters.

    How does it feel, when your desired 'millions of drug dollars' vanish like dreams upon waking?.


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