Shafee’s RM9.5m loan request is simply to cover up foul play, prosecution says

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KUALA LUMPUR: Lawyer Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah’s claim that the RM9.5m he received from Datuk Seri Najib Razak was a loan is merely to cover up his criminal act and protect the source of the money.

Deputy Attorney General Afzainizam Abdul Aziz, in his final submissions, said Muhammad Shafee, on the other hand, wanted to avoid paying taxes for the money he received and used it to buy a bungalow from worth RM9.3 million.

Afzainizam said the lawyer used the money for personal purposes and questioned why the RM9.5million income he received was not reported to the Inland Revenue Board (LHDN ).

“Why did this happen… is because he (Muhammad Shafee) was thinking primarily of his personal gain in buying the bungalow.

“As a lawyer he should know that income must be declared and the Bar Council reminds lawyers that income must be declared. However, he used 97% of the RM9.5m to purchase an asset when in fact income tax should have been paid,” he said.

According to Afzainizam, investigations by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) also revealed that two checks received from the former Prime Minister were money from illegal activities which were then deposited into the personal account of the lawyer.

He said Muhammad Shafee told MACC that the RM9.5mil was a loan from Najib and therefore did not have to be declared to the LHDN or pay taxes as it was not income in the first place.

Harvinderjit Singh, representing Muhammad Shafee, said the RM9.5 million received by his client from Najib did not come from illegal activities.

“The money was obtained legally after Muhammad Shafee provided legal services to Najib regarding Umno and Barisan Nasional election petitions,” he said, adding that Najib is expected to be called to testify in court. to prove that the money given was legal fees.

At the conclusion of submissions, Judge Muhammad Jamil Hussin set Oct. 28 whether Muhammad Shafee will be acquitted or must defend himself against the four counts he faces.

On May 12, the prosecution closed its case by calling eight witnesses to the trial which began on May 21, 2021.

On September 13, 2018, Muhammad Shafee pleaded not guilty to receiving the proceeds of illegal activities via checks issued by Najib, which were deposited into Muhammad Shafee’s CIMB Bank Berhad account.

He reportedly received a check for RM4.3 million on September 13, 2013 and another for RM5.2 million on February 17, 2014.

The offenses were allegedly committed at CIMB Bank Bhd, Taman Tunku, Bukit Tunku here.

Charges, under section 4(1)(a) of the Anti-Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing and Proceeds of Illegal Activities Act 2001, are punishable by a fine n not exceeding RM5 million or up to five years in prison or both if convicted.

Muhammad Shafee is also charged with two counts of participating in transactions resulting from illegal activities, namely submitting incorrect tax returns, which is in violation of Section 113(1)(a) of the Income Tax Act 1967 for the financial years ending on 31 December. 2013 and December 31, 2014.

He allegedly committed the offenses at Jalan Duta branch of LHDN at Kompleks Pejabat Kerajaan, Jalan Tuanku Abdul Halim here on March 3, 2015 and June 29, 2015.

For this, Muhammad Shafee is liable to a maximum prison term of 15 years and a fine of at least five times the amount of the proceeds of the illegal activity, if found guilty. – Bernama

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