KUALA LUMPUR: Senior lawyer Shafee Abdullah said the money laundering charges against him over the RM9.5 million payment will not affect his position as former prime minister Najib Razak’s lawyer.
In describing the charges as “political prosecution” by the Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC), he said it was an attempt to remove him from leading Najib’s legal team.
Without naming anyone in the AGC, he alleged that there were two individuals who were “not permanent” who wanted to kick him off Najib’s team as they were not confident of their prosecution cases.
“I even heard there are rumours to jointly charge me and him (Najib). And if it is true, I cannot be his lawyer then,” he told reporters after posting bail today on four charges of money laundering.
Shafee is representing Najib in criminal breach of trust (CBT) and money laundering cases in connection with the transfer of RM42 million to his private bank account from SRC International, a former 1MDB subsidiary.
Shafee and six other lawyers are representing Najib.
Shafee was slapped with four counts of money laundering charges today over the RM9.5 million payment he allegedly received from Najib between September 2013 and January 2014.
He was also accused of not declaring RM9.5 million in his tax returns for 2015.
Shafee claimed trial.
“As lawyers, you don’t inquire where the money for legal fees comes from. I have represented people in drug trafficking cases and would I ask if the money was from the drugs sale? I did not expect to be charged over it,” he said.
Asked if he thought others who had allegedly received Najib’s money would be hauled to court, Shafee said not all would suffer the same fate as him.
“Textile and food supply companies also received his (Najib) money from his bank account. They wouldn’t know the source of money,” he added.
He also said he was not afraid of being in the accused’s dock today, and not at the counsels’ table as he usually is.
“In fact I am terribly annoyed with (lawyer) Gopal Sri Ram, who is leading the prosecution team.
“He saw a chance when he was given the license to prosecute and I happened to be the one to be aimed at again,” he said, claiming that Sri Ram was caught in a conflict of interest by prosecuting him and representing Anwar Ibrahim in the PKR president elect’s suit against him over the RM9.5 million issue.
He added, “the ultimate person to benefit from this prosecution will be Anwar.”
Shafee said he would file his court papers to disqualify Sri Ram as the deputy public prosecutor in charge of the case by next week.
Shafee also criticised the Pakatan Harapan government for “trying to keep their promises by pretending to do something to fulfil their manifesto”.
“They said they will charge people related to 1MDB, but they are still struggling on investigations and the best they can do to Najib is on the RM42 million SRC International issue.
“They promised removing GST (goods and services tax) to bring down prices of goods but the actual scenario proved otherwise,” he said.