Lawyer Mohd Hafarizam Harun on Monday (Aug 3) claimed trial to three money laundering charges for receiving RM15 million (S$4.9 million) in illicit funds from former premier Najib Razak in 2014 and 2015.
Hafarizam, a legal adviser for Umno, pleaded not guilty when the three charges were read out to him at the Sessions Court, Malay Mail online news reported.
The lawyer had represented Najib in multiple court cases when he was prime minister and Umno president, and even after he was no longer holding the two posts.
He told reporters outside the court that he has completed the civil cases where he had represented Najib, and isn’t involved in the former premier’s criminal cases.
Under the first charge, Hafarizam was accused of receiving from Najib a cheque for RM7.5 million in proceeds from illegal activity on April 17, 2014, which the lawyer deposited into the client account of his law firm.
Hafarizam was similarly accused of committing money laundering on Nov 12, 2014 under the second charge by receiving a cheque of RM4 million in illegal proceeds from Najib.
He was accused of receiving a RM3.5 million cheque from Najib again on Jan 21, 2015 and similarly deposited the cheque, the news site reported.
A government prosecutor earlier on Monday dropped similar charges against Hafarizam at the High Court, saying the prosecution was seeking a discharge not amounting to acquittal as it wanted to file fresh new charges against him in the Sessions Court, Bernama news agency reported.
On conviction for the fresh charges, the offender could be jailed up to 15 years, and fined not less than five times the value of proceeds from the unlawful activities or at least RM5 million.
Hafarizam was allowed a bail of RM200,000.