KUALA LUMPUR (Oct 25): The High Court here on Monday (Oct 25) granted lawyer Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah temporary release of his passport to fly to New York. 

Shafee, who had surrendered his passport to the court as part of his bail terms in his ongoing criminal trial, stated that he needs to fly to New York to accompany his son who is continuing his higher education in the US.

High Court Judge Datuk Muhammad Jamil Hussin allowed the application after S Nithia of the prosecution did not object to it.

The judge then allowed the release of the passport and instructed Shafee to return it by Dec 3. 

In his application before the court, Shafee said that he needs to fly to New York on Wednesday (Oct 27), and return on Nov 30, to help his son’s “settling in” at the New School's Parsons in New York. 

This follows recent identical events where the courts here allowed the temporary release of passports of three high-profile entities with ongoing criminal trials, namely former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, his wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor and Umno president Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi. 

Najib and Rosmah applied for the temporary release of their passports to be in Singapore to support their daughter Nooryana Najwa Najib, who is expected to give birth soon.

Zahid, meanwhile, was granted the temporary release of his passport as he had to leave for Germany to receive urgent medical treatment. 

Shafee has been on trial since Sept 13, 2018 for two charges of receiving money derived from illegal activities amounting to RM9.5 million through two cheques of RM4.3 million on Sept 5, 2013 and RM5.2 million on Feb 14, 2014 respectively, issued by Najib, which were allegedly deposited into the lawyer's CIMB Bank Bhd account.

He is also facing two charges of engaging in transactions resulting from illegal activities, namely submitting incorrect tax returns and in violation of Paragraph 113(1)(a) of the Income Tax Act 1967 for the financial years ended Dec 31, 2013 and 2014.

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