KUALA LUMPUR: Umno lawyer Mohd Hafarizam Harun claimed trial at the Sessions Court here today to two counts of money laundering amounting to RM15 million.
The 47-year-old, who has acted for former prime minister and Umno president Najib Razak in several civil cases, was charged under Section 4 (1) of the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act 2001.
On the first count, he was accused of depositing two cheques worth RM11.5 million belonging to Najib in the client account of his firm Hafarizam Wan & Aisha Mubarak between April 16 and Nov 4, 2014.
On the second count, he was accused of depositing another cheque, also belonging to Najib, worth RM3.5 million into the same account on Feb 12, 2015.
The offences were allegedly committed at the PWTC branch of CIMB Bank.
Hafarizam claimed trial before Sessions Court judge Azman Ahmad.
If found guilty, he could be jailed up to 15 years and fined up to five times the amount involved in the money laundering activities.
Hafarizam, who is a member of the Umno disciplinary board, was represented by lawyers Hasnal Rezua Merican, Wan Azmir Wan Majid and Abu Bakar Isa Rahmat.
The prosecution was led by deputy public prosecutors Ahmad Akram Gharib and Mohamad Mustafa P Kunyalam.
Mustafa proposed bail of RM500,000 and asked that Hafarizam’s passport be impounded.
Azman allowed the bail amount with one surety and set March 25 for mention.
Hafarizam was earlier escorted into the courtroom by officers from the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC).
He was arrested at the MACC headquarters in Putrajaya yesterday evening where he had gone to give his statement.
Hafarizam is the second Umno lawyer to be charged in court, after Muhammad Shafee Abdullah.
Shafee claimed trial in September last year to four charges of money laundering involving RM9.5 million.
He was accused of receiving RM4.3 million on Sept 13, 2013, and RM5.2 million on Feb 17, 2014, through two AmIslamic Bank cheques issued by Najib, which were remitted into Shafee’s CIMB Bank account.
Shafee is the lead counsel for Najib, who is facing 42 charges of power abuse, criminal breach of trust and money laundering in relation to 1MDB and its former unit SRC International.