Financial sabotage: AG drops appeal against 1MDB critics

The government withdrew its appeal against a Sessions Court decision to acquit Khairuddin Abu Hassan and Matthias Chang. (Bernama pic)

KUALA LUMPUR: A charge for allegedly sabotaging the nation’s banking and financial services hanging over the heads of 1MDB critics Khairuddin Abu Hassan and lawyer Matthias Chang for three years has been removed.

This happened after the government withdrew its appeal against a Sessions Court decision to acquit Khairuddin and Chang.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Noor Syazwani Mohamad Sobry today informed High Court judge Azman Abdullah that Attorney-General Tommy Thomas decided to discontinue the appeal.

Azman then struck out the appeal and affirmed the findings of the Sessions Court last year.

Lawyer Muhammad Rafique Rashid Ali, who appeared with Mohamed Khatri Abdulla, told FMT that Khairuddin and Chang did not make representation to the government to drop the appeal.

“They were ready to fight the case. However, the AG used his own initiative to withdraw the appeal,” he said.

On May 19 last year, the government filed a notice of appeal in the High Court to set aside the ruling of Sessions Court judge Wan Norisham Wan Yaakob to acquit Khairuddin and Chang of the charge.

Wan Norisham said the acquittal was appropriate as the prosecution had not presented any evidence linking Chang and Khairuddin to the charge.

Government lawyer Awang Armadajaya Awang Mahmud informed the court then that the prosecution was discontinuing the case and applied for a discharge not amounting to an acquittal (DNAA).

A DNAA would mean that criminal proceedings against Khairuddin and Chang could be restarted anytime later and was not time barred.

Khairuddin and Chang were jointly charged under Section 124L of the Penal Code in late 2015 with being at five police stations to make reports against 1MDB.

According to the charge sheet, the two were at the Office of the Chief of Police Economic and Finance Criminal Division in Paris, Charing Cross police station in London, Attorney-General’s Office of Switzerland in Berne, Wai Chan police station in Hong Kong and Cantonment police headquarters in Singapore.

They were charged with being at these locations between June 28 and Aug 26, 2015.

The charge said their act was intended to sabotage Malaysia’s banking and financial services. The offence, if proven, could have landed them in jail for up to 15 years.