SRC trial: AmBank punished for not flagging dodgy transactions in Najib’s accounts

Bank Negara Malaysia officer Ahmad Farhan Sharifuddin arrives at the Kuala Lumpur Court Complex May 8, 2019. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa
Bank Negara Malaysia officer Ahmad Farhan Sharifuddin arrives at the Kuala Lumpur Court Complex May 8, 2019. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

KUALA LUMPUR, May 8 — AmBank was previously penalised by Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) over its failure to report suspicious transactions in Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s accounts from the time these were opened until they were closed, the High Court was told today.

The prosecution’s fourth witness, BNM officer Ahmad Farhan Sharifuddin, confirmed the penalty imposed on the commercial bank after BNM raided the AmBank Jalan Raja Chulan branch on July 6, 2015.

“It was for an offence of failure to submit Suspicious Transaction Report (STR) on Datuk Seri’s (Najib) accounts (at the bank) from the opening to the closing of the account.

“The fine was issued somewhere around November 2015,” he said during cross-examination by Najib’s lawyer, Harvinderjit Singh.

Ahmad Farhan did not disclose the fine amount in court.

Najib had a total of five AmBank accounts (one savings and four current) registered with AmBank Jalan Raja Chulan branch, according to bank documents revealed in court throughout the trial.

According to verified news report in 2015, AmBank Group previously confirmed a RM53.7 million fine by BNM as a result of a breach of certain regulations under Sect 234 of the Financial Services Act 2013 and Sect 245 of the Islamic Financial Services Act 2013 by AmBank (M) Bhd and AmBank Islamic Bhd, respectively.

The financial institution did not specify the reason for the fine back then.

Ahmad Farhan, a manager at BNM’s Financial Intelligence and Enforcement Department, previously testified in the trial that he was the investigating officer in charge of the central bank’s raid at AmBank Jalan Raja Chulan on July 6, 2015.

However, he said he could not pinpoint specific transactions pertaining to the STR submissions when asked by Harvinderjit.

“In relation to the accounts, it’s specifically the four current accounts of Datuk Seri and two credit card accounts for Datuk Seri.

“In terms of transactions, I can’t recall for specific parties, but we look at both inward or outward,” he said.

Today marks the 15th day of the former prime minister’s trial on seven charges of criminal breach of trust, abuse of power and money-laundering RM42 million funds belonging to SRC International Sdn Bhd.

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