IT firm wins bid to block forfeiture of RM3 million over 1MDB links

Authorities are seeking the return of funds allegedly given to individuals and companies from Najib Razak’s accounts.

KUALA LUMPUR: The High Court here has ruled against the government’s move to forfeit RM3 million from an IT firm over claims it received 1MDB funds from former prime minister Najib Razak six years ago.

Judge Muhammad Jamil Abdullah said the prosecution failed to proved their case against Aga Touch (M) Sdn Bhd on the balance of probability, a requirement under the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act, or Amla.

“The company contended that the RM3 million it received from Najib in March 2014 was payment for its services to Umno.

“It also tendered bank statements to show that the money was spent for the company’s expenditures, and that the said RM3 million was no longer with them,” he said.

The company had also tendered evidence of cheques received from other sources over a four-year period, showing the alleged funds from Najib was no longer in their possession.

“The prosecution failed to prove the RM3 million they intended to forfeit came from Najib,” Jamil said.

The company’s lawyer Hariharan Tara Singh urged the court to immediately release its Public Bank account frozen in June 2018.

Deputy public prosecutor Farah Yasmin Salleh meanwhile said that the prosecution would appeal today’s decision and sought an interim order to stay the decision.

“If the money in the account is released, our appeal will be academic,” she said.

Hariharan said that the prosecution should have filed a formal application to allow both sides to argue on the issue whether a stay is appropriate.

“There is no real evidence in the court to suggest that our request for the bank account to be released was meant to frustrate their appeal,” he added.

Jamil ruled there would not be an interim order against the release of the account, and told prosecutors to file a formal application.

Hariharan later told reporters after the proceedings that the company will write to Public Bank to release the account.

The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) is seeking to recover RM270 million in funds allegedly channelled from Najib‘s account to 41 individuals and organisations.

MACC also issued compounds to recover RM420 million of alleged 1MDB money that was channelled to 80 individuals and organisations.

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