Umno leaders charged with money laundering

Pontian MP Ahmad Maslan (left) and Johor Baru Umno division chief Shahrir Samad could be fined up to RM5 million or an imprisonment not exceeding five years or both, if convicted. PHOTOS: THE STAR/FAIHAN GHANI, THE STAR

KUALA LUMPUR (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Two Umno leaders were charged with money laundering on Tuesday (Jan 21) for funds allegedly received from former Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak seven years ago.

Pontian MP Ahmad Maslan was slapped with two charges, namely failure to declare RM2 million (S$663,016) he allegedly got from Najib when filing tax returns for the year 2013 and for making false statements to the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC).

He had claimed to MACC officials that he did not receive the sum from Najib.

His party colleague, Johor Baru Umno division chief Shahrir Samad, was accused of not declaring RM1 million he allegedly received from Najib to the Inland Revenue Board in 2013.

Both leaders were charged in different courtrooms at the Kuala Lumpur High Court at around the same time.

They pleaded not guilty when the charges were read out to them under the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities (AMLA) Act 2001.

The duo could be fined up to RM5 million or imprisoned for a term not exceeding five years or both, if convicted.

Judge Azman Ahmad set bail at RM500,000 with one guarantor, and ruled that Ahmad's passport be surrendered.

Another judge, Ms Azura Alwi, set Shahrir's bail at RM350,000 with one surety and also ruled that the former Felda chairman's passport be surrendered.

The next case mention for Ahmad is on Feb 21 while Shahrir's will take place on Feb 24.

Ahmad and Shahrir were arrested separately by the MACC on Monday morning at the graftbuster's headquarters in Putrajaya, then later released on bail.

MACC revealed in October last year that 80 entities, including individuals, were given two weeks to pay a total of RM420 million, an amount which was classified as fines for receiving monies from 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB).

Ahmad and Shahrir were among the nine individuals named by the commission who were slapped with the compounds.

On Jan 6, the MACC said it would challenge a move that was filed against it on the right to issue compounds to recover funds which allegedly originated from 1MDB.

It had been reported that Ahmad and Shahrir were among those challenging the notices issued by MACC.

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.