Court extends detention of Godzine Sargsyan and Maldivian arrested in connection with Artur brothers case

The Criminal Court has extended the detention period of French national Godzine Sargsyan and a Maldivian man identified as Ahmed Nishan.

The Criminal Court today told local media that police have charged the pair with assault and battery, cases related to fraud, and providing invalid documents to government institutions.

Police have previously said there are many accusations against the two, but said details cannot be given as the case is still under investigation.

In April, police issued a statement asking for public assistance in locating Godzine Sargsyan. Godzine has been identified as one of the Artur brothers, who have come under scrutiny from local authorities after being linked in local media with alleged drug trafficking, money laundering, raids on media outlets and other serious crimes in Kenya.

Police said Godzine was a French national who came to the Maldives under the passport number 10CZ05238.

The pair turned themselves into police last week and were arrested.

Police are still looking for a Maldivian identified as Ahmed Visham of Henveiru Everchance House, in connection with the same case.

Local newspapers reported that the pair were living at Marble Guest House before they surrendered themselves to police. The Maldives Police Service later searched the guest house after arresting the two men.

Photos of the Arturs in the company of the two Maldivian ministers emerged on social media, apparently taken during the Piston Motor Racing Challenge held on Hulhumale’ between January 25 and 26.

A letter from the Tourism Ministry to immigration authorities requesting a residency visa for Margaryan and Sargayan Artur, dated January 27 and signed by Tourism Minister Ahmed Adheeb, was subsequently leaked on social media.

A company named ‘Artur Brothers World Connections’ was registered in the Maldives in October 2012, with the Artur brothers holding an 80 percent share in a 61-19 percent split.

French nationals identified as Godzine Sargsyan and Edga Sargsyan had a 10 and 7 percent share, while a Maldivian national Ismail Waseem of H. Ever Chance was listed as holding the remaining 3 percent.

Waseem’s share was subsequently transferred to Abdulla Shaffath of H. Ever Peace on November 25.

Meanwhile, on April 8, reports in local media suggested that Zaidul Khaleel, General Manager of the Club Faru resort, operated by the state-owned Maldives Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC), had been dismissed after he was found to have paid the brothers’ US$6000 bill.

Immigration Controller Mohamed Ali previously told local media that while Sargasyan Artur had left the Maldives on March 31, given issues with the country’s border control system “there are questions surrounding the second brothers’ exit from the Maldives.”