KUALA LUMPUR: Lawyer Datuk Mohd Hafarizam Harun is freed from three money laundering charges involving RM15mil that he received from former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.
Sessions Court judge Suzana Hussin acquitted him after the court was informed of the prosecution’s intention to withdraw the charges against Mohd Hafarizam, who is an Umno legal adviser.
Deputy public prosecutor Datuk Ishak Mohd Yusoff said the prosecution was withdrawing the charges as Mohd Hafarizam had paid a compound.
“All of the charges against the accused are withdrawn because he has agreed to pay a compound in the case,” Ishak told the court during a case mention here yesterday.
The court also ordered for the RM200,000 bail money to be returned to Mohd Hafarizam.
When met outside of the court, Mohd Hafarizam’s lawyer Datuk Hasnal Rezua Merican said the compound, amounting to RM590,587.26, was paid yesterday.
He said that during the proceedings, the defence had asked the court to make the acquittal order, which was granted by the court, and this effectively meant no new charges could be brought against Mohd Hafarizam.
Speaking to the press, Mohd Hafarizam said the charges had been hanging over his head since 2019. “I would like to state that every sen that I received from my client was put into the client’s account at my former law firm and would be taken out to (pay) third parties on instructions by my client, in my capacity as a trustee.
“Such transactions are normal for solicitors, it is legit and not unlawful,” he said.
Mohd Hafarizam said his profession, reputation and family had suffered throughout the case and he thanked Attorney General Tan Sri Idrus Harun for withdrawing the charges.
The 49-year-old was charged with three counts of receiving RM7.5mil, RM4mil and RM3.5mil through three cheques, which belonged to Najib, and the monies were deposited into the account of his former legal firm, Messrs Hafarizam Wan & Aisha Mubarak (HWAM).
The offences were allegedly committed between April 17, 2014 and Jan 21, 2015.
The charges were framed under Section 4(1)(a) and Section 4(1)(b) of the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act 2001, which provides for imprisonment not exceeding 15 years and a fine of not less than five times the sum or value of the proceeds of an unlawful activity or instrumentalities of an offence or RM5mil, whichever is higher, upon conviction.
The trial was initially scheduled to begin on Aug 12.
A total of 20 witnesses were listed in the prosecution’s witness list.