PUTRAJAYA (May 18): Lawyer Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah (pictured) today described the Inland Revenue Board's (IRB) action in filing a lawsuit against him over alleged unpaid taxes totalling RM9.41 million as a "political move" by the government.

He accused the IRB of being unethical for announcing the suit to the media even before serving him with the legal papers.

"We have not received anything yet. How did IRB issue this (media statement)? Very unethical. They have not served on me yet but it's out in the news already. This is typical of IRB," he said.

"I regard this as a political move," Shafee told a press conference. Shafee is representing former premier Datuk Seri Najib Razak in several cases related to the 1Malaysia Development Bhd scandal.

IRB's suit to recover the alleged unpaid taxes was filed at the High Court on May 6. It alleged in its statement of claim that it sent additional assessment notices to Shafee's Bukit Tunku address between May 27 and May 30, 2019 for the amounts of RM621,191.85 (2011), RM978,854.11 (2012), RM3.58 million (2013), RM1.74 million (2014) and RM1.83 million (2016), but they remained unpaid.

However, for the year 2011, the statement said an amount of RM186,965.48 was deducted from the amount owed, resulting in less assessment for that year.

As Shafee was said to not have paid the amount within 30 days of the notice, a 10% interest was charged to the amounts and an additional 5% interest was further imposed after he allegedly failed to pay within 60 days after that.

As a result, IRB said the amount the lawyer allegedly owed the government was in excess of RM9.41 million.

The tax body is seeking that amount and a further 5% interest from the date of judgement.

Shafie had also been slapped with two counts of money laundering for accepting cheques worth RM4.3 million on Sept 13, 2013 and another cheque for RM5.2 million on Feb 17, 2014 from Najib, and another two charges of giving false statement to IRB, for which he had claimed trial.

His trial has yet to commence.

The government, through the IRB, has also sought taxes of RM1.69 billion from Najib and his children Datuk Mohd Nazifuddin Najib, Datuk Mohd Nizar Najib and Nooryana Najwa Najib.

Only Nooryana Najwa managed to set aside the notice, while the IRB has obtained summary judgement against her father, along with Nazifuddin and Nizar.

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