Najib may seek to strike out RM27 million money laundering charges

KUALA LUMPUR: Former prime minister Najib Razak may seek to strike out the RM27 million money laundering charges against him related to his ongoing SRC International case.

His lawyer Muhammad Shafee Abdullah told the High Court here today that the charges do not state the primary offence.

“These three charges were riding on seven charges, but they were knocked out in the end and now they are standing on their own,” he said.

Najib had attempted to quash the seven charges of money laundering, abuse of power and criminal breach of trust on grounds that they are vague and he would be unable to put up a credible defence.

However, the High Court dismissed his application on April 29, saying Najib’s claim was unsubstantiated.

Deputy public prosecutor Budiman Lufti today maintained that the RM27 million money laundering charges are valid and proper.

“We will address the challenge against the charges after we receive the formal application,” he said, adding that the prosecution wishes to proceed with the case.

High Court judge Zaini Mazlan then fixed June 2 to 25, 2020 as trial dates for the RM27 million money laundering charges.

The trial dates were fixed for next year as both Shafee and Budiman said the defence and prosecution would be occupied with Najib’s cases until next April.

Najib was charged again with the three money laundering charges at the Sessions Court in February after they were withdrawn by the High Court.

The case was later transferred to the High Court.

The offence was allegedly committed at the AmIslamic Bank branch on Jalan Raja Chulan on July 8, 2014. If convicted of money laundering, Najib could be fined up to RM5 million, jailed for a maximum of five years, or both.

The High Court also set May 30 for mention of the government’s forfeiture case against Najib and 17 other individuals and companies.

Deputy public prosecutor Muhammad Shukri Hussain, representing the government in the forfeiture suit, said the Attorney-General’s Chambers had served the notices of forfeiture on most of the individuals and companies.

However, they could not find Goh Gaik Ewe, who is the mother of fugitive businessman Low Taek Jho.

Lawyer M Puravalen told the court that he would represent Goh, who is currently overseas, in the forfeiture suit.

The government is seeking the forfeiture of over a hundred items seized from Najib and the 17 others after May 9 last year.

Other individuals named in the notices of forfeiture are Rosmah Mansor, film director Riza Aziz, Najib’s children and former Goldman Sachs banker Roger Ng.

The seized items included luxury handbags, cash in different currencies, watches, shoes and 27 Nissan Urvan vehicles.

RM18 million in various bank accounts and a bungalow in Tanjung Bungah belonging to Low’s family were also seized.

The government sought a court order to publish the notices under Section Section 61 (2) of the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act to summon any third party who claims to have interest in the property to come before the court on the date specified in the notice to show cause as to why the property should not be forfeited to the government.