No link between new charges, Equanimity, says Najib’s lawyer

Former prime minister Najib Razak’s lawyer, Muhammad Shafee Abdullah.

KUALA LUMPUR: The lawyer for Najib Razak today denied that the former prime minister’s seven criminal charges have anything to do with 1MDB or the seizure of luxury yacht Equanimity.

Muhammad Shafee Abdullah said he did not know if it was merely coincidence that the Equanimity entered Malaysian waters yesterday, less than 24 hours before his client went to court to face fresh charges of money laundering.

“I don’t know why the timing was done this week. Maybe it was done to confuse the issues,” he said outside the court.

He also played down any links between the seizure of the Equanimity and the money-laundering charges levelled against Najib, saying all seven charges were related to SRC International, a former subsidiary of 1MDB.

The police and the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) are still investigating state investment firm 1MDB, which is under the finance ministry.

The Equanimity arrived at Pulau Indah, Port Klang yesterday, escorted by marine police patrol boats.

The RM1 billion luxury yacht, which is at the centre of a US investigation into 1MDB, travelled from Tanjung Benoa port in Bali to Batam island, Indonesia before leaving for Malaysia.

It is believed that the Indonesian government, which seized the yacht at the request of US authorities early this year, decided to hand it over to Malaysia following a visit by Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad to Jakarta in June.

Najib faces three criminal breach of trust charges under Section 409 of the Penal Code, one abuse of power charge under the MACC Act and another three money-laundering charges for allegedly receiving funds from unlawful activities under the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act.