Interpol has issued a red notice to apprehend 42 year-old Ismail Abdul Latheef, the head of the ‘Maleesha Hajj and Umrah Group’ who is being sought on suspicion of fraudulently collecting funds from Hajj pilgrims.
According to local newspapers, the company’s office remained closed and the contact numbers given to the persons who paid are not in use. Clients of the company have no hope of getting to Mecca this year, according to reports.
Police Sub-Inspector Hassan Haneef told newspaper Sun that police had given Interpol information about Latheef two days ago.
The owner of the business allegedly collected MVR 68,000 (US$4400) from 175 persons who wished to go to Mecca this year to fulfill the Hajj, one of the five pillars of Islam.
Based on this amount, Latheef is thought to have fraudulently obtained up to MVR 11.9 million (US$77,0000).
Police have previously said that attempts are ongoing to locate and summon Latheef for investigation.
According to police, Latheef’s whereabouts are unknown. It was possible that he had fled the country, they stated.
Authorities have claimed that 52 complaints have so far been received over alleged payments made to the Maleesha Hajj and Umra Group.
Some people who paid to the company have also complained at different media outlets.