Shafee’s money-laundering trial: No proof shown to MACC that RM9.5m was for legal services

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He repeatedly stated that the money he received was payment for legal services he rendered to Najib, his party and the prime minister.

Lawyer Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah did not produce any supporting documents as proof upon request by a Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) investigating officer that he had received RM9.5 million from Datuk Seri Najib Razak for legal services rendered, the High Court heard today.

In the witness testimony of Assistant Commissioner Mohd Nasharudin Amir, Muhammad Shafee had informed the former that he did not know the source of the RM9.5 million in funds nor did he ask Najib about it.

Mohd Nasharudin said he had gone to Muhammad Shafee’s office on July 28, 2017 to question him about the RM2.6 billion that was deposited into Najib’s bank account including the channelling of said funds to several individuals and companies.

During the interrogation, Mohd Nasharudin had presented two AmIslamic Bank cheques totalling RM4.3 million and RM5.2 million to Muhammad Shafee.

“He repeatedly stated that the money (he received) was payment for legal services rendered to Najib, his party, and the prime minister.

“Muhammad Shafee also explained that the cheques were in no relation to the prosecution appeal of Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s second sodomy case,” the witness testified.

DPP Afzainizam Abdul Aziz then produced a Sept 12, 2013 letter titled: “Settlement of outstanding fees owed by Barisan Nasional for counsel and solicitor work in the election petitions”.

Nasharudin said this was the first time he was seeing such a letter and Shafee did not produce it when he recorded the statement from him.

Nasharudin, who was then MACC’s anti-money laundering unit head, said Shafee told him the RM9.5 million which he received was used to buy a bungalow in Bukit Tunku.

Bernama

On Sept 13, 2018, at the Kuala Lumpur Sessions Court, Shafee claimed trial to four charges linked to the RM9.5 million allegedly received from Najib via two cheques.

The lawyer was charged with two counts of money laundering over the RM9.5 million, which he was accused of receiving in two tranches, the first RM4.3 million on Sept 13, 2013, and the second payment of RM5.2 million on Feb 17, 2014.

Shafee was also charged with two counts of involvement in transactions of proceeds from unlawful activity, by making inaccurate statements in relation to the payments on March 3 and June 29, 2015.

The 69-year-old lawyer was alleged to have deposited the two cheques into his personal account at a CIMB Bank branch in Bukit Tunku, Kuala Lumpur.

For the first two charges, Shafee was charged under Section 4 (1) (b) of the Anti-Money Laundering and Anti-Terrorism Financing Act (AMLA) 2001.

The other two charges are framed under Section 113(1)(a) of the Income Tax Act 1967.

The case was later transferred to the High Court in Kuala Lumpur, whereby the second day of trial was on May 28. The trial began on May 21 this year.

Najib, meanwhile, is currently facing numerous separate criminal trials, among them the RM2.28 billion 1MDB corruption case. His counsel is Shafee.

The hearing before High Court judge Muhammad Jamil Hussin continues.