KUALA LUMPUR: Umno’s top lawyer Datuk Mohd Hafarizam Harun has been charged at the Sessions Court here with two counts of money laundering by way of depositing RM15mil in total from former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak into his law firm’s bank account.
The 47-year-old pleaded not guilty after the charges were read out before Sessions Court judge Azman Ahmad on Thursday (Feb 21).
According to the first charge, Hafarizam deposited proceeds of unlawful activity totalling RM11.5mil through two AmIslamic Bank Bhd cheques belonging to Najib into a client account of Messrs Hafarizam Wan & Aisha Mubarak at CIMB Bank Bhd.
The offence was allegedly committed at CIMB Bank, Putra World Trade Centre between April 16 and Nov 4, 2014.
In the second charge, Hafarizam was accused of the same offence involving RM3.5mil, which he was said to have deposited via a cheque from Najib into the same client account at the law firm.
He allegedly committed the offence at the same place on Feb 12, 2015.
The charges were framed under Section 4(1)(a) of the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities (Amlatfapua) Act 2001.
Hafarizam faces imprisonment up to 15 years and a fine of not less than five times the sum or value of the proceeds of the unlawful activity or RM5mil, whichever is higher, if he is convicted.
DPP Mohamad Mustaffa P. Kunyalam proposed RM500,000 bail for both charges.
He also asked the court to seize the accused's passport.
Lawyer Hasnal Rezua Merican, who represented Hafarizam, did not object to the proposed bail amount and the additional condition on the passport.
DPP Ahmad Akram Gharib, who is also on the prosecution team, informed the court that a case against one Paul Geoffrey Stadlen was registered at the magistrate's court here on Wednesday (Feb 20).
"A warrant of arrest has been issued and if he is arrested and physically charged in court, his case will be jointly tried with Hafarizam's case," Ahmad Akram said.
Stadlen was Najib's former media advisor who was charged in absentia on Wednesday (FEB 20) for money laundering involving RM15mil.
Azman fixed bail at RM500,000 in one surety and ordered for Hafarizam's passport to be surrendered.
The case is set for mention on March 25.