Saturday, October 31, 2020

Trial dates for disgraced ex-PM Najib Razak in 1MDB money laundering case to be finalised on Friday (Aug 23)

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The trial dates for Datuk Seri Najib Razak who is facing four charges of having used his positions to obtain gratification totalling RM2.3bil in 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) funds and 21 counts of money laundering involving the same money, will be finalised Friday (Aug 23).

This is subject to whether the SRC International Sdn Bhd trial could be settled Friday or otherwise.

High Court Judge Collin Lawrence Sequerah fixed 4.30pm tomorrow for both parties (prosecution and defence) to update him on the status of the SRC trial.

However, the judge has said he intended the 1MDB trial to commence Tuesday (Aug 27) subject to developments in the SRC case.

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Earlier, former Federal Court Judge Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram, who was appointed as senior deputy public prosecutor, suggested that the 1MDB trial begin on Tuesday as there will be a judicial review on a civil case to disqualify him as lead prosecutor in the 1MDB case on Monday (Aug 26) at the Court of Appeal.

“The prosecution is ready to call witnesses to testify on Tuesday without their witness statement,” he said.

Meanwhile, Najib’s lawyer Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah said the appeal on the judicial review would take at least half a day and he also suggested that the 1MDB trial start on Sept 3 as the defence had a week to study 15 volumes or 732 documents from the prosecution.

“We can’t concentrate on the 1MDB case while the SRC trial is still going on, ” he said.

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Muhammad Shafee said according to the witness statement of 1MDB’s former CEO Datuk Shahrol Azral Ibrahim Halmi, he mentioned that the prosecution asked questions about emails and BlackBerry message conversations.

Related: Kleptocracy: 1MDB trial involving Malaysia’s ex-Prime Minister Najib Razak Postponed

“So, the defence is requesting the prosecution to provide documents in relation to that matter,” he said.

The lawyer said there was a report from the foreign media that Xavier Andre Justo (former officer of PetroSaudi International Ltd) ) had handed about 237,000 documents to the MACC, which might be relevant to the prosecution.

However, Sri Ram said he was never informed of nor had any knowledge about it.

On the four corruption charges, Najib, 66, was alleged to have committed the offences at the Jalan Raja Chulan branch of AmIslamic Bank Bhd, at 55, Jalan Raja Chulan, Bukit Ceylon here between Feb 24, 2011 and Dec 19, 2014 under Section 23(1) of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Act and is punishable under Section 24 (1) of the same law.

He faces imprisonment of up to 20 years and a fine of up to five times the sum or value of the gratification or RM10,000, whichever is higher, if found guilty.

For the 21 money laundering charges, Najib was alleged to have committed the offences at the same bank between March 22, 2013 and Aug 30, 2013.

All the charges were made according to Section 4(1)(a) of the Anti-Money Laundering and Anti-Terrorism Financing Act (AMLATFA), which carries a maximum fine of RM5mil and a jail term of five years, or both, if convicted.

Previously, Justice Sequerah had set Aug 19 to 29; the month of September and October except for Fridays; and the first two weeks of November for Najib’s 1MDB trial.

The judge had earlier this week (Monday) adjourned the trial, which was scheduled to start on Aug 19 to next Monday.

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