Not guilty, Najib says it again on money laundering charges

(Bernama pic)

KUALA LUMPUR: Former prime minister Najib Razak today maintained his plea of not guilty to three counts of money laundering amounting to RM27 million of SRC International funds five years ago.

Najib, wearing a grey suit, nodded when the charges were read to him by a court interpreter. When asked whether he pleaded guilty or not, he said, “Claim trial.”

The case came up for mention for the first time before High Court judge Mohamed Zaini Mazlan today after its transfer from the Sessions Court.

Najib was alleged to have been involved in money laundering by accepting a total of RM27 million, proceeds from unlawful activities, through his three AmPrivate Banking accounts.

The Pekan MP was accused of committing the offences at AmIslamic Bank Bhd, Ambank Group Building, No. 55, Jalan Raja Chulan on July 8, 2014 under Section 4 (1)(a) of the Anti-Money Laundering and Anti-Terrorism Financing Act 2001.

If found guilty, he faces a maximum fine of RM5 million, imprisonment of up to five years, or both.

Deputy public prosecutor Manoj Kurup proposed that the court use the bail imposed on Najib by the Sessions Court on Feb 8.

The court then set April 17 for mention.

Najib, represented by lawyer Muhammad Shafee Abdullah, was charged in the Sessions Court where he pleaded not guilty to all three charges. The case was transferred to the High Court following an application by the prosecution.

In another High Court, judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali fixed Feb 18 for management of Najib’s case involving seven charges relating to SRC International funds totalling RM42 million, following an application by Kurup when the case came up for mention.

Kurup said on that day, the prosecution would inform the court of any developments in Najib’s four appeals at the Court of Appeal.

The appeals were on the gag order to prohibit the media from discussing the merits of his criminal case, for the recovery of documents, to challenge the appointment of lawyer Sulaiman Abdullah as lead prosecutor, and on the prosecution’s move to withdraw the certificate to transfer his case from the Sessions Court to the High Court.