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Prosecution says the RM31m it is seeking to forfeit, including RM10m from Najib and family, is from 1MDB

KUALA LUMPUR (March 26): The prosecution, who is seeking to forfeit over RM10 million worth of assets from Datuk Seri Najib Razak (pictured) and his family, told the court today that these — together with some RM21 million they are seeking to seize from 13 other individuals — are from 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB).

Deputy Public Prosecutor Saifuddin Hashim Musaimi, who leads the prosecution in the case, highlighted that billions of ringgit that have gone into the former premier's accounts are said to be from 1MDB.

“These belong to 1MDB and it should not have ended up in a personal account, especially the former premier's AmBank 9694 account, where millions of US dollars went in.

“We say that these are illegal money, and it is incumbent on the respondents to show that it is not,” Saifuddin said.

He noted that US$120 million entered into Najib's account during the Good Star phase, another US$170 million under the Aabar phase and another US$681 million from the Tanore phase over the years, which amounts to billions of ringgit. These are phases that investigators have previously identified through which money was laundered via 1MDB.

"The prosecution and investigators have shown the money trail leading to monies ending up in Najib's accounts," he added.

The prosecution filed the forfeiture proceedings against Najib, his wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor, their children Nooryana and Norashman Najib, and Najib's stepson Riza Shahriz Aziz, to forfeit 263 handbags and 40 watches seized by the authorities in May 2018 following the 14th General Election.

Other items include 27 pairs of branded shoes, cash in various denominations including some RM725,000, 26 Nissan Urvan vehicles, monies in bank accounts, and a Nissan X-Trail.

Besides the family, the prosecutors have also named Mohd Kyizzad Mesran, Senijauhar Sdn Bhd, Aiman Ruslan, Yayasan Rakyat 1Malaysia, Yayasan Semesta, Yayasan Mustika Kasih, Rembulan Kembara Sdn Bhd, Goh Gaik Ewe (the mother of fugitive businessperson Low Taek Jho), former Goldman Sachs banker Roger Ng, lawyer Lim Hwee Bin, Kee Kok Thiam, Tan Vern Tact and Geh Choh Hun as respondents in its forfeiture suits, claiming they are also recipients of 1MDB funds.

Seizure made under AMLATFPUA

Yesterday, it was reported that the prosecution had seized another RM49 million from Jho Low's father, Tan Sri Larry Low Hock Peng, who, like Jho Low, is on the run. 

Saifuddin said the prosecution is seeking to forfeit the money and other valuables, including vehicles, under Section 4 and Section 56 of the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds from Unlawful Activity Act 2001 (AMLATFPUA).

In forfeiture proceedings, and based on case laws, it is incumbent on the respondents of the forfeiture suits to prove that the assets and valuables that the prosecution want to seize are not illegal money, he said.

“The respondents must disprove the money or valuables that are now frozen are not illegal proceeds. We have shown the predicate offence that the proceeds of these assets sought originated from 1MDB.”

The forfeiture of more than RM31 million in cash and other valuables follows affidavits affirmed by Senior Assistant Commissioner R Rajagopal and Superintendent Foo Wei Min from the police Commercial Crime division.

In February last year, High Court judge Justice Mohamed Zaini Mazlan allowed Najib, Rosmah and his children were allowed to inspect these RM10 million worth of items — comprising 263 handbags and 40 watches seized by the authorities in May 2018 under this forfeiture suit, which the family is contesting. These items were seized by authorities after they raided several premises at Pavilion Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya, right after the 14th General Election.

The former premier is already facing 21 charges of money laundering and four other counts of abuse of power in relation to US$681 million (RM2.28 billion) of 1MDB funds.

Najib has already been found guilty of seven charges — one for abuse of power of approving RM4 billion in loan given by Retirement Fund Inc (KWAP) for SRC International Sdn Bhd, with three counts of criminal breach of trust and another three for money laundering involving RM42 million of SRC funds. For this, he has been sentenced to spend 12 years in jail and fined RM210 million, sentences which he is appealing.

Layering process done by Najib

Meanwhile, Deputy Public Prosecutor Faten Hadni Khairuddin also showed that while millions of US dollars entered Najib's 9694 account, he closed the account in 2013, and put the monies in another account — the 1880 account — and they were then channelled to two other AmBank accounts where the monies were dispersed.

“We say that is the layering process of the 1MDB money in a bid [to make it] seem like it has been legalised,” she said.

“These monies are 1MDB's monies, [which] Najib did not pay back to the company but layered them to these personal AmBank accounts as investigations from the police show. We want the court to take cognisance [of this] and recognise that all these are illegal money and proceeds from 1MDB, which the prosecution wants to seize and forfeit,” she said.

The balance in the accounts that are frozen from the family and the others are from the illegal proceeds from 1MDB, the prosecution stressed.

The court has to consider the prosecution's submissions, based on a balance of probabilities test, on whether Najib's defence team that comprises Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah has managed to disprove what the prosecution has put forth, together with the affidavit in reply made by the respondents, Saifuddin said.

“We say that they did not manage to disprove our case to forfeit these valuables. The prosecution is saying that the products of the seizure made under Section 4 and Section 56 of AMLATFPUA that an offence of money laundering has been committed and that there was no valuable consideration given in return,” he said.

Justice Zaini fixed April 1, April 23 and June 18 for continued submissions.

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