KUALA LUMPUR: The huge amount of cash and luxury items seized from premises linked to Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak and his wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor are now being investigated under the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act 2001 (Amla).
Bukit Aman Commercial Crime Investigation Department director Comm Datuk Seri Amar Singh confirmed that the case was classified under Amla during a press conference yesterday.
Lawyers, too, believed that Amla would likely be used to nail Najib and his wife over the 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) scandal.
The seizure has led to talk that Najib will be detained soon, resulting in journalists staking out at his home in Jalan Langgak Duta.
Lawyers for Liberty executive director Latheefa Koya said the amount of cash and items seized indicated that those behind the scandal would face multiple charges.
“Amla will likely be used to confiscate the cash and items as ill-gotten gains derived from a crime such as corruption or money laundering,” she said.
She noted that those claiming ownership of items must be able to show how they obtained them and where the money came from.
Even if the owners of the seized items were able to account for them, Latheefa said the question of whether taxes had been duly paid would then arise.
“Amla can be used not only to seize ill-gotten gains from corruption or money laundering, but also for cases of those who had evaded taxes on the items,” she said.
Criminal lawyer Amer Hamzah Arshad said prosecuting authorities could rely solely on Amla to charge those involved in money laundering or other crimes.
However, he said, Amla had very wide powers and should be used with caution to avoid unfair pressure on the accused.