New charges against Najib nothing to do with 1MDB, Equanimity, says lawyer

KUALA LUMPUR: The additional charges faced by former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak are not related to the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) case or the arrival of the superyacht Equanimity, says his lawyer Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah.

“I want to stress it has nothing to do with 1MDB,” he told reporters at the Kuala Lumpur Courts Complex lobby on Wednesday (Aug 8).

“The case has nothing to do with the yacht arriving in Klang either. I hope they have not arranged the coincidence of the yacht arriving in Klang with the sudden decision to charge my client with three insignificant charges,” he said.

Muhammad Shafee was alluding to the arrival of the superyacht Equanimity in Port Klang on Tuesday (Aug 7).

The billion-ringgit vessel, believed to be owned by fugitive businessman Low Taek Jho, or Jho Low, was allegedly purchased using funds stolen from 1MDB.

Earlier Wednesday, Najib claimed trial to three counts of money laundering at the High Court here.

The charges were read out before Justice Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali in Malay, to which the former premier pleaded not guilty.

Najib was slapped with fresh charges of receiving RM27mil, RM5mil and RM10mil, which were allegedly obtained from illegal activities, into his bank accounts in three separate transactions.

The first and second offences were allegedly committed at AmIslamic Bank at Jalan Raja Chulan on Dec 26, 2014 while the third offence was allegedly committed at the same place on Feb 10, 2015.

The offences under Section 4 (1)(b) of Anti-Money Laundering Act, Anti-Terrorism Financing Act and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act (Amla) 2001 carries a punishment of up to 15 years’ prison and a fine of up to five times the monetary amount involved.

On July 4, Najib was charged with three counts of criminal breach of trust and one count of using his position for gratification as part of a probe into funds missing from 1MDB. He pleaded not guilty to all the charges.

The charges were related to the RM42mil that allegedly went from SRC International, a former subsidiary of 1MDB, into Najib’s personal bank accounts.

Najib Tun Razak , court , Equanimity , 1MDB