Zahid’s fixed deposit accounts raised millions but did not trigger bank’s red flags

KUALA LUMPUR (March 3): Cash deposits and subsequent proceeds raised from Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi’s fixed account amounting to millions of ringgit did not trigger any alarms as the transactions involved the account of his appointed law firm Messrs Lewis & Co.

This was revealed by the 39th prosecution witness, Leong Siew Kong, a manager at a Maybank branch, in Ahmad Zahid’s graft trial today.

During Leong’s re-examination, deputy public prosecutor Ahmad Sazilee Abdul Khairi asked Leong whether the bank would know whether the proceeds were illegal and would trigger the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds from Unlawful Activity Act 2001 (AMLATFPUA), to which the witness said no.

“It did not raise a red flag at the bank because it was being done via the lawyers’ account, which is considered a normal transaction,” the witness responded.

In his testimony earlier, Leong verified numerous fixed deposit transactions that were made into Ahmad Zahid’s account via the account of Lewis & Co, where millions of ringgit were raised in proceeds and subsequently transferred back to the law firm’s account.

The actual amount raised could not be accurately ascertained as many transactions were highlighted by the witness in court.

Ahmad Zahid, also Bagan Datuk member of Parliament, faces 47 charges — 12 for criminal breach of trust (CBT), eight for bribery and 27 for money laundering — involving millions of ringgit belonging to Yayasan Akalbudi.

Previously, it was reported that Ahmad Zahid was charged with receiving over RM71 million of proceeds from money laundering, over RM20 million for CBT and over RM21 million of purported bribe.

Earlier in the trial, Datasonic Group Bhd managing director testified that an alleged RM6 million bribe the company gave to Ahmad Zahid as former deputy prime minister (DPM) and home affairs minister in 2017 into a Maybank account was in fact a political donation for his Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition government.

Furthermore, businessman Azlan Shah Jeffril, whose company Profound Radiance Sdn Bhd was appointed by the ministry to run and manage One Stop Centre (OSC) for foreign visa applicants in a few countries, also testified that a sum of RM2 million that he had given to Ahmad Zahid personally into Maybank was a charitable and political donation.The trial continues on Friday.

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