Senior Customs officials summoned to parliament in connection with Arthur brothers

The Parliament’s Government Oversight Committee has summoned the Commissioner General of Customs Department Mohamed Ashwan and other senior officials of Customs Department over a matter concerning the Artur brothers.

Earlier in April pictures of Artur brothers with the Tourism Minister Ahmed Adheeb and Defence Minister Mohamed Nazim emerged on the social media.

The ministers denied involvement with the infamous brothers, who are linked with drug trafficking, money laundering, raids on media outlets and other serious crimes in Kenya.

The committee meeting was closed to the public and the media following a request made by the customs department.

According to newspaper Haveeru, four officials from the customs department appeared before the committee.

Haveeru reported that the officials were summoned to clarify the nature of goods imported to the Maldives by the Arthur brothers,  and to find out what were the suspicions against them.

In a previous meeting held with senior customs officials, Ashwan reportedly told the MPs that the matter was a “very dangerous case” and that he would provide all the details in a closed meeting as there were Maldivians involved in the matter.

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 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.

Police have meanwhile issued a statement asking for public assistance in locating one of the Artur brothers, Godzine Sargsyan.

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