‘Donations not illegal proceeds’

KUALA LUMPUR: It was erroneous to conclude that the donations that went into Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi’s Yayasan Akalbudi (YAB) charity foundation were proceeds from illegal activities, the High Court heard.

Lawyer Hisyam Teh Poh Teik, who is representing the Umno president, said the conclusion by the prosecution was baseless and they had not crossed the threshold in proving that the 27 charges against Ahmad Zahid were within the meaning of the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act (Amla).

To prove the charges, Hisyam said it was fundamental to identify the unlawful activities that resulted in the act of money laundering, which Hisyam claimed the prosecution had failed to do.

“Out of the 27 Amla charges, based on the evidence adduced, there’s no sufficient proof for the court to make a finding in favour of the prosecution,” he said in his submissions at the end of the prosecution’s case here yesterday.

In the trial, Ahmad Zahid was alleged to have committed money laundering by engaging in direct transactions involving proceeds from illegal activities by instructing money changer Omar Ali Abdullah to convert for him a cash amount of RM7,511,250.20 into 35 cheques that were later given to Messrs Lewis & Co for the opening of Maybank fixed deposit accounts.

Hisyam also submitted that Omar Ali, who was said to have received the instructions from Ahmad Zahid to do so, did not commit banking offences as the transactions were legitimate for charity purposes.

The hearing continues on Monday.

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