Najib faces new money laundering charges, smiling, he pleads not guilty

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Najib Razak, who says he is not guilty of any wrongdoing, again pleaded not guilty in the face of new money laundering charges today.

He claimed trial to three counts of money laundering at the High Court in Putrajaya, in fresh charges of receiving RM27 million and RM10 million which were wired to his bank accounts on three separate transactions.

The money was wired in his AmIslamic Bank account in Kuala Lumpur on Dec 26, 2014 while the third offence was committed at the same bank on Feb 10, 2015, court papers showed.

The monies – small compared to the billions that the government said went missing in the 1mdb scandal – were obtained from illegal activities. They fall under Section 4 (1)(b) of Anti-Money Laundering Act, Anti-Terrorism Financing Act and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act (Amla) 2001.

Local newspapers said the charges carry a punishment of up to 15 years’ prison and a fine of up to five times the monetary amount involved.

Najib has also been indicted for three cases of cheating by trust (CBT) and abuse of power. He is accused of abusing his power and of misusing funds in a RM42 million (S$14.7m) from the SRC International Sdn Bhd.

Najib, 65, has been consistent in saying he is not guilty of any of the charges brought against him. He said this is a witch-hunt by the current Pakatan Harapan regime which is trying to please the public after promising to bring Najib to trial.

Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad campaigned during the 14th General Elections in Malaysia in May on the basis of ‘catching Dato Seri Najib Razak’ who was then accused of syphoning billions from the 1mdb.

Najib chaired the 1mdb the whole time while the sovereign fund became bankrupt and had to sell its assets – bought at higher prices than market value – to recover its debts, the opposition said during the elections.