MACC files civil forfeiture applications against 41 who received money from Najib

MACC chief commissioner Latheefa Koya with her deputy Azam Baki at a press conference in Putrajaya today.

PUTRAJAYA: The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) has filed civil forfeiture applications against 41 individuals and entities to recover money allegedly transferred from the account of former prime minister Najib Razak.

MACC chief commissioner Latheefa Koya said the forfeitures filed under Section 56 of the Anti-Money Laundering Act are to recover RM270 million of 1MDB money transferred to Najib’s account and later to the individuals and entities.

At a press conference here today, she said the biggest recipients of the money were Umno divisions and branches which received RM212 million.

She said MACC has recovered RM919 million to date in money from the 1MDB scandal.

Most of it was recovered from film production company Red Granite, the Park Lane Hotel in New York and other assets through the US Department of Justice (DoJ), she added.

Also present at the press conference today were MACC deputy chief commissioner (operations) Azam Baki, legal and prosecution division director Umar Saifuddin Jaafar and anti-money laundering and forfeiture of properties division director Mohamad Zamri Zainul Abidin.

Latheefa said many other foundations, individuals and companies were included on the list along with Umno.

“We have filed the application at the Kuala Lumpur court, and once the affidavit is out, it will be served on them,” she said, adding that the commission is allowing the individuals concerned to return the money voluntarily, to avoid further prosecution.

Umar said hearings would be held for the 41 respondents on June 25 and July 10, 24 and 31.

“Once we get the applications, we will freeze the accounts of the respondents. We hope to recover the money within 12 months,” Latheefa added.

“This is our second step in trying to recover 1MDB money, and we are being pragmatic,” she said.

“If they decide to voluntarily return the money… it’s all well and good.”

She said the individuals and entities which had received the money from Najib should know where it came from.

“There is no way for them not to know,” she added.

She also said Najib’s AmBank account was created to receive the 1MDB money.

“The person didn’t take steps to find out where the money came from,” she said. “That’s called money laundering.”

Azam meanwhile said MACC would set up a special task force led by the National Centre for Governance, Integrity and Anti-Corruption to recover assets related to 1MDB in other countries.

He said many other 1MDB-linked assets had been identified, especially in Hong Kong and the UK.

“I think they are worth almost US$5 billion,” he added.