Malaysian ex-minister Syed Saddiq charged with money laundering

Syed Saddiq had transferred a total of RM100,000 (S$32,000) from his bank account into his Amanah Saham Bumiputera account.
Syed Saddiq had transferred a total of RM100,000 (S$32,000) from his bank account into his Amanah Saham Bumiputera account.PHOTO: THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

JOHOR BARU (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Former youth and sports minister Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman has been charged with two counts of money laundering at the Sessions Court in Johor Baru, involving a total of RM100,000 (S$32,000).

The 29-year-old, who is also Muar MP, pleaded not guilty after the charges were read to him before Judge Ahmad Kamal Arifin Ismail on Thursday (Aug 5).

According to the charge sheet, the accused had transferred RM50,000 from his bank account into his Amanah Saham Bumiputera (ASB) account on June 16, 2018, and another RM50,000 on June 19 the same year.

The money was allegedly obtained through money laundering activities and the offence was said to have been committed at a bank in Taman Perling, Johor Baru.

The act is an offence under Section 4(1)(b) of the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act 2001, which provides for a maximum fine of RM5 million or imprisonment of up to five years, or both, if found guilty.

The prosecution was conducted by Deputy Public Prosecutors Wan Shaharuddin Wan Ladin, Ahmad Akram Gharib and Mohd 'Afif Ali of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission, while the accused was represented by Mr Gobind Singh Deo, who is also the Puchong MP.

Mr Wan Shaharuddin asked the court to apply for the same bail against Syed Saddiq that was imposed on the latter when he faced his charges at the Kuala Lumpur Sessions Court.

The prosecution also asked the court to transfer the case to Kuala Lumpur as the prosecution witnesses were the same as for the case in Kuala Lumpur.

The court then allowed all the prosecution's applications and set Sept 10 for the next mention of the case at the Kuala Lumpur court.

On July 22, Syed Saddiq claimed trial at the Kuala Lumpur Sessions Court to two counts of corruption relating to criminal breach of trust (CBT) and misappropriation of monies involving funds that belonged to his former party, Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia.

The 29-year-old pleaded not guilty to the charges before Judge Azura Alwi.

According to the first charge, Syed Saddiq, as the youth leader of the party then, was entrusted with funds belonging to the party's youth wing Armada Malaysia and he allegedly committed CBT by withdrawing RM1 million using a cheque without the approval of Bersatu's top leadership.

The offence was allegedly committed at CIMB Bank in Menara CIMB KL Sentral on March 6 last year.

Syed Saddiq was charged under Section 405 of the Penal Code, which is punishable under Section 406 of the same Code, and faces up to 10 years' jail, caning and a fine.

For the second charge, Syed Saddiq was accused of misappropriating RM120,000 of contribution money belonging to Bersatu that was meant for the 14th general election in 2018.

He allegedly committed the offence at Maybank in Taman Pandan Jaya between April 8 and 21 that year.

The charge under Section 403 of the Penal Code carries a jail term of between six months and five years, caning and a fine.