Zahid’s trial: Prosecution claims Zahid orchestrated money-laundering scheme

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The prosecution also submitted that this was a premeditated and deliberate scheme by the accused to commit a corrupt act with financial gratification foremost in the accused mind.

Bernama

Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi had orchestrated his money laundering scheme involving millions through moneychanger operator known as Omar Ali Abdullah, the Kuala Lumpur High Court heard today.

Deputy public prosecutor Harris Ong Mohd Jeffery Ong also contended that Omar Ali played an active role in the issuance of cheques belonging to Ekares Sdn Bhd – a company owned by the latter’s wife, Kamarunisah Ahmah Shah.

He said Omar Ali acted on Zahid’s instructions by receiving cash from an unknown individual several times.

“He banked the cheques into Ekares’s account and asked his wife to make confirmation about the payment if requested by the bank.

“He later passed on all the cheques to the accused. All these activities would constitute a scheme of money laundering,” he said in his submissions before Judge Datuk Collin Lawrence Sequerah.

He said the source of cash received by Omar Ali was also in doubt as Kamarunisah had testified that she did not know about funds deposited into the account as her husband managed all such deposits.

“She only signed a blank chequebook where the name of the recipient and the amount were left blank,” Harris said, adding that the 48-year-old housewife had further testified that she knew Zahid as they came from the same hometown in Bagan Datuk and her family knew the latter before he joined politics.

Harris also submitted that the cash money delivered by an unknown individual to Omar Ali clearly demonstrated that the transactions were suspicious and doubtful.

“This honourable court should look at the series of events beginning from instructions given by the accused to Omar Ali, the method and conduct in delivering the cash to Omar Ali, the converting process by Omar Ali, acceptance by the accused for all suspicious cheques from Omar Ali, and finally ending up in Messrs Lewis & Co (Muralidharan Balan Pillai from Messrs Lewis & Co is Zahid’s lawyer)

“It is submitted that this was a deliberate scheme by the accused to commit a corrupt act with financial gratification foremost in the accused mind,” Ong said.

The prosecutor also submitted that the various methods used by Omar and his conduct in converting the cash also falls under the definition of unlawful activity.

The prosecutor said that Zahid’s major and only concern was that all the monies physically “disappear, transform, exchange and convert into cheques” for a simple reason: It was more convenient for Zahid, later on, to hand them over to Muralidharan.

Between May 2016 and April 2018, for almost two years, Muralidharan was entrusted with 92 cheques amounting to RM76.9 million, added the prosecutor.

“Muralidharan must be someone that the accused could trust so much to manage the enormous sum of money on his behalf,” Ong said.

The prosecution is currently making closing arguments in the trial of Zahid, who is facing 47 charges in total – 12 counts of criminal breach of trust, 27 counts of money laundering, and eight counts of bribery – involving tens of millions of ringgit in funds belonging to his charity foundation Yayasan Akalbudi.

The hearing continues tomorrow.


Earlier reports:

Oct 4, Zahid’s trial: Enough evidence to show Zahid received bribes amounting to millions

Sept 22, Zahid’s trial: Zahid was never promised immunity for disclosing information to MACC

Sept 20, Zahid’s trial: Defence says RM6m not reward or bribe, but political donation and for charity