Court allows lawyer Shafee’s application for return of passport

Lawyer Shafee Abdullah.

KUALA LUMPUR: The High Court here today allowed an application by prominent lawyer Shafee Abdullah, who is charged with money laundering and making incorrect income tax filings, for the temporary return of his impounded passport.

Judge Collin Lawrence Sequerah allowed the temporary return of the travel document to Shafee, 66, after his lawyer, Rahmat Hazlan, informed the court that his client had to travel to Australia between Feb 22 and 25 to handle a criminal case in Sydney.

“He also has to be in Jakarta for business matters from March 1 to 3,” he said during the case management today. Shafee was in court.

The prosecution, represented by deputy public prosecutor Afzainizam Abdul Aziz did not object.

Sequerah allowed the temporary release of Shafee’s passport today and to be returned on March 5.

On Sept 13 last year, Shafee pleaded not guilty in the Sessions Court to two counts of money laundering by receiving a total of RM9.5 million in proceeds from unlawful activities from former prime minister Najib Razak and two counts of making incorrect filings under the Income Tax Act 1967.

The money laundering offences were allegedly committed at CIMB Bank Berhad, J2 & K1, Taman Tunku, Bukit Tunku, near here on Sept 13, 2013 and Feb 17, 2014.

Both charges were filed under Section 4(1)(a) of the Anti-Money Laundering and Anti-Terrorism Financing Act 2001 (Amlatfa) which provides for a maximum fine of RM5 million and imprisonment not exceeding five years or both upon conviction.

On charges for breaching the Income Tax Act, Shafee was charged with being involved directly in the transactions involving proceeds from unlawful activities by making incorrect tax returns, hence breaching Paragraph 113(1)(a) of the Income Tax Act 1967 for the financial year ending Dec 31, 2013 and Dec 31, 2014.

He was alleged to have left out income received on Sept 13, 2013, amounting RM4.3 million, and income received on Feb 17, 2014 amounting to RM5.2 million via two AmIslamic Bank Berhad cheques belonging to Najib Razak which were credited into two CIMB Bank Berhad accounts belonging to him.

The offences were allegedly committed at the Inland Revenue Board, Duta branch, Government Office Complex Jalan Tuanku Abdul Halim, here on March 3, 2015 and June 29, 2015.

The charges were framed under Section 4(1)(a) the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities 2001 Act (Amlatfaua), which provides for a jail sentence not exceeding 15 years and a fine of not less than five times the value of unlawful activities at the time the offences were committed or RM5 million, whichever is higher, upon conviction.