Shafee Staring at 15 Years’ Jail over Money Laundering, Tax Evasion Charges

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Out on bail of RM1 million.

  • If convicted of four charges, facing up to 15 years’ jail, RM5 million fine
  • Former federal court judge Gopal Sri Ram leading a five-men team of DPP
  • Shafee represented by six lawyers, including his son
  • Out on bail, surrendered passports
  • Najib also been called up over Shafee’s case

Prominent Umno lawyer Muhammad Shafee Abdullah who was arrested at about 6am today and was charged today with offences related to an RM9.5 million payment he received from former prime minister Najib Razak.

The senior lawyer was slapped with four charges of money laundering at the Sessions Court in Kuala Lumpur.

The charges were made under Section 4 (1) of the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act (Amla) 2001.

In the first two charges, Shafee was accused of receiving payments of RM4.3 million and RM5.2 million between August 2013 and January 2014.

In the following charges, he was accused of making false declarations to the Inland Revenue Board for the same amount between March and June 2015.

Shafee claimed trial to the charges which were read out before Sessions Court judge Rozina Ayob.

If convicted under Section 4 (1) of Amla, Shafee faces a maximum jail sentence of 15 years for the false declaration charges and five years for receiving the RM9.5 million.

He also faces a maximum fine of RM5 million or five times the money received.

Former federal court judge and Anwar Ibrahim’s lawyer in his second sodomy case, Gopal Sri Ram is leading a team of deputy public prosecutors comprising Kamal Baharin Omar, Ahmad Akram Gharib, Afzainizam Abdul Aziz and Regine Sin.

He was appointed senior public prosecutor on August 31 to assist the Attorney-General’s Chambers’ pending case of the misappropriation of funds linked to 1Malaysia Development Bhd.

Shafee was represented by six lawyers, comprising Harvinderjit Singh, Chetan Jethwani, Hasnal Rezua Merican, Sarah Abishegan, Rahmat Rezlan and Mohamad Farhan Shafee, who is his son.

Sessions Court Judge Azura Alwi granted Shafee bail with two sureties with RM500,000 to be paid by Thursday (Sept 13), while the remaining RM500,000 is to be paid by Tuesday (Sept 18).

She also ordered him to surrender both his diplomatic and Malaysian passports.

Shafee is the lead defence counsel for Najib, who has been charged with money laundering, criminal breach of trust, and power abuse, in relation to RM42 million that was found to have been deposited into his bank account from SRC International, then a subsidiary of 1Malaysia Development Bhd.

It is understood Najib has also been called up over Shafee’s case.

Shafee was at the Johor Baru High Court to attend to a case on Wednesday (Sept 12) morning and had returned to Kuala Lumpur.

He was scheduled to fly to Penang to handle a Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 case.

He was arrested at the Sultan Abdul Aziz Shah Aiport in Subang before the scheduled flight on Thursday morning.

He was taken to the MACC headquarters in Putrajaya where his statement was recorded before he was produced in a Sessions Court at the Jalan Duta court complex in Kuala Lumpur for the charges to be read.

Shafee’s arrest follows PKR president-elect Anwar Ibrahim’s announcement last week that the Attorney-General’s Chambers had issued an affidavit affirming Shafee had received payments amounting to RM9.5 million from Najib in 2013 and 2014.

Legal officer Siti Rahayu Mohd Mumazaini from the Attorney-General’s Chambers revealed in an affidavit that two cheques were deposited into Shafee’s CIMB bank account on Sept 13, 2013, and Feb 17, 2014.

The first cheque was reportedly for RM4.3 million while the second was for RM5.2 million. Both cheques were issued from Najib’s AmIslamic Bank Bhd account.

Rahayu said the information was obtained when the MACC froze Shafee’s bank account while investigating the lawyer for money laundering offences.

She said Shafee filed an affidavit in the High Court last year claiming he had not received the money.

The payment was allegedly for Shafee’s services as the ad-hoc prosecutor in Anwar’s Sodomy II trial. Shafee was the lead prosecutor appointed by the Malaysian government to act in then-opposition leader Anwar’s second sodomy trial.

In response to Anwar’s announcement, Shafee on Saturday revealed that he did receive RM9.5 million from Najib, but the money was payment for legal work he had done for Umno over 10 years, and not for leading the prosecution in Sodomy II.

Whistleblower site Sarawak Report broke the news on May 31, 2017, that then-prime minister Najib had paid Shafee a total of RM9.5 million in 2013 and 2014.

The article said the funds were traced to a bank account “that had been identified as having been funded by money stolen by the Prime Minister from the 1MDB subsidiary SRC, which had borrowed some RM4 billion from the civil service pension fund (Retirement Fund Inc) KWAP”.

Sarawak Report said Shafee allegedly received a second payment of RM5.2 million in February 2014, a fortnight before the Appeal Court overturned the acquittal of Anwar.

Meanwhile, Shafee claimed that any accusations levelled against him were unwarranted.

Shafee, who arrived at the Sessions Court at about 11.20am, told reporters that he was being victimised.

“I will give a full press statement later,” he added as he was escorted into the court.


Earlier reports:

Sept 11, Shafee could be Scrutinised by Taxman over RM9.5M

Sept 9, Bar Council Urged to Take Action Against Shafee over RM9.5M Payment

Sept 7, Damning Affidavit Confirms Najib Paid Shafee RM9.5M