Close  

Lawyer for ex-Malaysian leader Najib arrested, charged

/ 04:48 PM September 13, 2018

Shafee Abdullah (center) chief lawyer of Malaysia’s former prime minister Najib Razak is escorted by Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) officers to a court in Kuala Lumpur on September 13, 2018. AFP

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia — Former Malaysian leader Najib Razak’s chief lawyer was arrested and charged with money laundering Thursday, as authorities intensified a crackdown on corruption linked to the previous government.

Shafee Abdullah, 66, one of the country’s most prominent lawyers, led Najib’s legal team when the former prime minister was charged for his role in a multi-billion dollar financial scandal involving state fund 1MDB.

ADVERTISEMENT

Najib denies accusations that he oversaw the theft of billions of dollars — but the financial scandal was a key factor in his shock election defeat in May to a disparate opposition led by his former mentor Mahathir Mohamad, 93.

Shafee was slapped with four money laundering charges at the Sessions Court, where he pleaded not guilty and was released on bail.

FEATURED STORIES

He was arrested early Thursday at an airport where he was scheduled to board a domestic flight for a court case, an officer of the anti-corruption commission told AFP.

He was accused of receiving into his bank accounts two cheques from Najib totalling 9.5 million ringgit ($2.3 million), one deposited in 2013 and the other in 2014.

Both checks were “proceeds of unlawful activity,” according to the charge sheet.

The charges also involved Shafee omitting the money in his income tax returns for those years.

If convicted on all charges, he could face fines and up to 40 years in prison.

State prosecutor Gopal Sri Ram told reporters the charges arose from the anti-corruption commission’s investigation into the 1MDB scandal.

Shafee called the charges part of a “political vendetta”.

ADVERTISEMENT

But the state prosecutor said: “This is a serious offense. There is no politics in this, the accused is not a politician.”
Mahathir’s government has embarked on an anti-corruption campaign since taking power, running after several individuals linked to the former government.

It has gained custody of a luxury yacht believed bought with stolen 1MDB funds by fugitive Malaysian financier Low Taek Jho, who is at the centre of the scandal.

Mahathir also wants to take back a private jet belonging to Low, who has denied any wrongdoing.

Following Najib’s election loss, police seized a vast trove of items — including expensive handbags and jewellery — from properties linked to him with an estimated value of up to $273 million. /ee

Read Next
LATEST STORIES
MOST READ
Don't miss out on the latest news and information.
View comments

Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.

TAGS: arrest, Corruption Scandal, Former Malaysian leader Najib Razak's chief lawyer, International news, Malaysia, Shafee Abdullah
For feedback, complaints, or inquiries, contact us.
entertainment

Marco Gallo not out to become ‘the next James Reid’

December 16, 2019 12:02 AM

lifestyle

French New Wave icon Anna Karina dies at 79

December 15, 2019 10:42 PM

sports

Pogoy plays through pain, helps TNT get crucial win

December 15, 2019 10:06 PM

newsinfo

New Zealand eruption death toll rises to 18

December 15, 2019 09:33 PM



© Copyright 1997-2019 INQUIRER.net | All Rights Reserved

We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By continuing, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. To find out more, please click this link.