Umno lawyer claims trial to RM15 mil money laundering charges

Mohd Hafarizam Harun (centre) faces three counts of money laundering amounting to RM15 million.

KUALA LUMPUR: Umno legal adviser Mohd Hafarizam Harun today claimed trial in the Sessions Court here to three counts of money laundering amounting to RM15 million.

Hafarizam, who acts as counsel for former prime minister Najib Razak in civil cases, is said to have laundered RM7.5 million.

The second and third counts amounted to RM4 million and RM3.5 million respectively.

The accused is said to have been directly involved in the three transactions involving proceeds from unlawful activities, in three AmIslamic Bank Bhd cheques belonging to Najib, which were deposited in the account of Hafarizam Wan & Aisha Mubarak at CIMB Bank Bhd.

The offences were allegedly committed at the PWTC branch of CIMB Bank at Suite 1, Level 5, Menara Dato Onn, Jalan Tun Ismail, here between April 17, 2014 and Feb 12, 2015.

The first charge were framed under Section 4(1)(a) of the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act 2001, which provides for imprisonment of up to five years or a fine of not less than five times the amount of the proceeds from the unlawful activities, or both.

The second and third charges provide for imprisonment of up to 15 years and a fine of not less than five times the amount of the proceeds.

The stiffer sentence came into effect from Sept 1, 2014.

Judge Azman Ahmad allowed Hafarizam to post RM200,000 bail in one surety and his passport to be impounded pending the disposal of the case.

The amount must be posted by noon tomorrow.

Azman said the lower bail would be taken from the RM500,000 already posted in court last year.

“But I was informed that the court administration could sort out the matter by today,” he added.

Earlier, Hafarizam’s lawyer, Hasnal Rezua Merican, informed Azman that the prosecution had withdrawn two money laundering charges framed last year as they wanted to file fresh cases today.

“My client last year posted RM500,000. I am urging this court to impose RM200,000 and the balance be returned to him,” he said.

Hasnal Rezua said Hafarizam was now a sole proprietor of a legal firm he set up in April after leaving the previous law practice.

“He needs the money as operating cost for his new firm,” he said, adding that the accused did not jump bail when facing three charges earlier.

Deputy public prosecutor Ishak Mohd Yusoff, who was assisted by Sulaiman Kho, left it to the discretion of the court.

Azman fixed Sept 9 for the case to be mentioned.

Speaking to reporters, Hasnal Rezua said he would study the charges to see if there were any interlocutory applications to be made.

“We will also explore to see if a representation can be made to the Attorney-General’s Chambers to drop the charges,” he added.