KUALA LUMPUR: Former deputy minister Ahmad Maslan today claimed trial to two charges under anti-money laundering laws at the Sessions Court over funds received from Najib Razak.
Ahmad is accused of failing to declare RM2 million he received from the former prime minister in his 2013 tax returns as well as giving false information to the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC).
Ahmad allegedly told a MACC officer, Mohd Zairi Zainal, that he had not received the RM2 million cheque from Najib and that he had not seen the cheque, or that he had cashed the cheque.
The Pontian MP faces charges under Sections 4(1)(a) and 32(8)(c) of the Anti Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act, or Amla.
If found guilty of giving false information and failing to declare his tax returns, he could face a maximum five-year jail term or fine of between RM3 million and RM5 million, or both.
Sessions Court judge Azman Ahmad set bail at RM500,000 bail in one surety for Ahmad, and ordered him to surrender his passport to the court pending the disposal of his money laundering case.
The court set Feb 21 for the next mention of the case.
Earlier, deputy public prosecutor Norzilati Izhani Zainal @ Zainol had asked the court to impose a RM1 million bail on Ahmad.
However, lawyer Hamidi Mohd Nor told the court that the amount sought was excessive and that Ahmad is still a serving MP.
“There is no risk that he will abscond and he is a law-abiding citizen who came to court to face the charges today,” Hamidi said.
Also in the dock today was former Felda chairman Shahrir Abd Samad, who was separately charged under Amla.
The duo were among 80 individuals and organisations named by MACC for receiving over RM420 million from Najib.
MACC said the funds were from 1MDB.
The anti-graft body had issued compound notices to them, demanding that they return the monies.
Ahmad, Shahrir and Puteri Umno had filed judicial reviews to challenge the MACC compound notices against them on Oct 7, 2019, claiming that these were null and void. The High Court will hear the challenge on Feb 26.
Speaking to reporters after posting bail, Ahmad thanked his friends and supporters for helping him raise the RM500,000 needed for his bail.
He added that he already said last year in the Dewan Rakyat that he did not receive any 1MDB funds.
“I stand by my statement last year,” Ahmad said.