Lawyer Shafee freed of RM9.5mil money laundering charge

(FMT) – The High Court has acquitted lawyer Shafee Abdullah of money laundering charges involving RM9.5 million allegedly received from Najib Razak, as well as making false declarations to the Inland Revenue Board (LHDN).

Justice Jamil Hussin said the prosecution had failed to establish a prima facie case against the accused.

In a brief oral judgment, Jamil ruled that there was no testimony by any of the prosecution witnesses to show that the accused had committed a predicate offence by receiving the proceeds of two cheques for RM4.3 million and RM5.2 million, respectively.

“Instead, the testimony (of MACC investigating officer Fariq Jabar) showed that there was no illicit activity which took place when the recipient received both cheques, and that the money was not from (any) illicit activity.

“It is trite law that the prosecution is bound by the testimony of its own witnesses,” he said.

Jamil said he did not agree with the prosecution’s submission that the burden of proof applicable in this case was on the balance of probabilities. He said the lower standard of proof was only applicable in forfeiture proceedings.

Instead, the judge said the prosecution was required to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the two cheques received by the accused were the proceeds of illegal activities.

The prosecution, however, failed to discharge that burden, rendering it unsafe for the court to call on the accused to enter his defence, the judge added.

“Therefore, the accused is discharged without his defence being called,” Jamil said.

On Sept 13, 2018, Shafee pleaded not guilty to receiving proceeds from unlawful activities via cheques issued by the former prime minister, which were remitted into his CIMB Bank Berhad accounts.

He was alleged to have received a cheque for RM4.3 million on Sept 13, 2013, and another for RM5.2 million on Feb 17, 2014.

The money was received through two AmIslamic Bank Berhad accounts belonging to Najib and deposited into two CIMB Bank Berhad accounts held by Shafee.

Shafee was also charged with submitting incorrect tax returns for the financial years ending Dec 31, 2013, and Dec 31, 2014.

He was alleged to have omitted income of RM4.3 million received on Sept 13, 2013, and RM5.2 million that was received on Feb 17, 2014 in his tax returns.

He was alleged to have committed the offences at LHDN’s Jalan Duta branch at Kompleks Pejabat Kerajaan, Jalan Tuanku Abdul Halim here on March 3, 2015 and June 29, 2015.