Lawyer Shafee staring at 15 years’ jail over 4 money laundering charges

KUALA LUMPUR: Lawyer Muhammad Shafee Abdullah was slapped with four charges of money laundering at the Sessions Court here today in connection with the RM9.5 million payment from former prime minister Najib Razak.

The charges were made under Section 4 (1) of the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act (Amla) 2001.

In the first two charges, Shafee was accused of receiving payments of RM4.3 million and RM5.2 million between August 2013 and January 2014.

In the following charges, he was accused of making false declarations to the Inland Revenue Board for the same amount between March and June 2015.

Shafee claimed trial to the charges which were read out before Sessions Court judge Rozina Ayob.

If convicted under Section 4 (1) of Amla, Shafee faces a maximum jail sentence of 15 years for the false declaration charges and five years for receiving the RM9.5 million.

He also faces a maximum fine of RM5 million or five times the money received.

The court set bail at RM1 million and impounded his two passports. Shafee paid RM500,000 of his bail today with the remaining RM500,000 to be paid next Tuesday.

The next case management will take place on Oct 2.

Former opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim filed a suit against Shafee last June, saying he had been denied a fair trial following allegations by whistleblower site Sarawak Report that RM9.5 million was transferred to Shafee from Najib’s private account.

The PKR leader said the Court of Appeal’s decision on March 7, 2014 to convict him of sodomising Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan was made in an unconstitutional manner.

The appeals court’s decision was upheld by the Federal Court on Feb 10, 2015.

The government had given Shafee a temporary licence to be made ad-hoc prosecutor to conduct the appeal which led the court to set aside Anwar’s acquittal by the High Court in 2012.

In an affidavit filed in the Court of Appeal and released last week, Siti Rahayu Mohd Mumazaini, an officer from the Attorney-General’s Chambers, affirmed that Shafee had received RM9.5 million from Najib to lead the Sodomy 2 prosecution.

She alleged that two cheques for RM4.3 million and RM5.2 million were deposited into Shafee’s CIMB bank account on Sept 13, 2013 and Feb 17, 2014.