Shafee’s money laundering trial vacated for Najib’s 1MDB, SRC cases

Lawyer Muhammad Shafee Abdullah.

KUALA LUMPUR: The trial of lawyer Muhammad Shafee Abdullah, who faces two counts of money laundering charges involving RM9.5 million allegedly received from Najib Razak and two charges of making false statements to the Inland Revenue Board (LHDN), has been vacated to give way to the former prime minister’s 1MDB and SRC International cases.

Ad hoc prosecutor Gopal Sri Ram said the agreement was reached after case management before High Court judge Muhammad Jamil Hussin, who will be presiding over Shafee’s trial.

“This trial will give way to the 1MDB and SRC trials which are underway,” he told reporters.

He said another case management would be held on April 30.

The trial of Shafee, who was charged in September 2018, was scheduled to begin from March 19.

Lawyer Sarah Abishegam appeared for Shafee.

Shafee, 67, pleaded not guilty to receiving proceeds from unlawful activities via cheques issued by Najib, which were remitted into Shafee’s CIMB Bank Bhd account.

He allegedly received a cheque for RM4.3 million on Sept 13, 2013 and another for RM5.2 million on Feb 17, 2014.

He was said to have committed the offences at CIMB Bank Bhd, J2 & K1, Taman Tunku, Bukit Tunku, here.

Shafee also faces two charges of involvement in transactions of proceeds from unlawful activities by making inaccurate statements and in contravention of Paragraph 113 (1)(a) of the Income Tax Act 1967 for the financial years ending Dec 31, 2013 and Dec 31, 2014.

He allegedly committed the offences at LHDN’s Duta branch at Kompleks Pejabat Kerajaan, Jalan Tunku Abdul Halim here in 2015.

Najib’s 1MDB corruption trial will resume on March 10.

This was decided after case management before trial judge Collin Lawrence Sequerah today.

The ninth prosecution witness, former 1MDB CEO Shahrol Azral Ibrahim Halmi, is still under cross-examination.

Najib, 66, faces 25 charges of money laundering and abuse of power over alleged 1MDB funds in his AmBank accounts.

He is accused of abusing his position to obtain RM2.28 billion in bribes in February 2011 and December 2014.

He is also said to have transferred RM2.28 billion in illegal funds to his bank accounts and to have subsequently used the money.

The Pekan MP has also entered defence on seven charges of criminal breach of trust, abuse of power and money laundering in relation to the transfer of RM42 million to his account from SRC International.

The hearing will begin this afternoon before High Court judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali.