Najib wants to strike out his three additional RM27 million money-laundering charges

Former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak will file an application to strike out his three additional money-laundering charges involving RM27 million of SRC International Sdn Bhd (SRC) funds.

Najib’s lead counsel, Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah, said this before High Court Judge Mohamed Zaini Mazlan during a case management today.

“We will somehow make an application to strike out the three charges as they (prosecution team) were riding on the seven charges but were knocked out in the end.

“They do not seem to have predicate offences and standing on its own, that is why the deputy public prosecutor (DPP) is asking for a short trial date,” he said, referring to the seven charges of money laundering, abuse of power and criminal breach of trust faced by Najib which had entered its 18th day of trial before Justice Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali.

In respond, DPP Budiman Lufti Mohamed told the court that the prosecution maintained the RM27 million money laundering charges were valid and proper.

Earlier, Budiman applied for the hearing date to begin as early as April next year, but Muhammad Shafee called for it to commence in June. 

“We need a little time to ‘recover from injury’ after the trial of RM2.28 billion 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) case (which is to start on Aug 19),” Muhammad Shafee said. 

Muhammad Shafee also asked for the trial to be vacated every Friday because the defence team needed time to prepare for other cases. 

Before setting the dates for the trial, Mohamed Zaini said he was worried that the trial might take longer.

“My worry is that the counsels said it will not take long but what if the trial does not end during the period? If it ends within 14 days, that will be very good,” he said. 

The judge then fixed June 2 to 25, 2020, for trial.

“The trial dates are from June 2 to 4, 9 to 11, 15 to 18, 23 to 25. We take Fridays off,” the judge said and fixed June 21 for case management. 

On Feb 8 this year, Najib pleaded not guilty to three additional charges of money laundering by receiving money totalling RM27 million, which are proceeds from unlawful activity, in three AmPrivate Banking accounts belonging to him.

The former premier was alleged to have committed the offences at AmIslamic Bank Berhad, Bangunan Ambank Group,  No. 55, Jalan Raja Chulan, on July 8, 2014, under Section 4(1)(a) of the Anti-Money Laundering and Anti-Terrorism Financing Act 2001, which provides for a maximum fine of RM5 million or jail not exceeding five years or both upon conviction.

He was initially charged in the Sessions Court, but the case was transferred to the High Court on March 13 upon application by the prosecution.