Zahid pleads not guilty to amended money laundering charge involving Yayasan Akalbudi funds

Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi arrives at the Kuala Lumpur High Court in Kuala Lumpur March 8, 2021. — Picture by Firdaus Latif
Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi arrives at the Kuala Lumpur High Court in Kuala Lumpur March 8, 2021. — Picture by Firdaus Latif

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KUALA LUMPUR, March 9 — The prosecution in the case of former Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi involving Yayasan Akalbudi funds, today amended a money laundering charge by making changes on the amount and value of the cheques.

“I understand this (amended) charge is to make the sentence heftier for me. Thank you... I plead not guilty,” said Ahmad Zahid.

He made the plea after the amended charge in the money laundering case involving the Yayasan Akalbudi funds was read to him before High Court Judge Collin Lawrence Sequerah prior to the commencement of the trial.

Earlier, Deputy public prosecutor Harris Ong Mohd Jeffry Ong applied to the court to amend the 27th charge in terms of value and amount of the cheques and the judge ordered the amended charge to be read to Ahmad Zahid, 68.

The amendment involved the removal of the amount of ‘RM6,885,300.20’ and ‘30 cheques’ and to replace them with ‘RM7,511,250.20’ and ‘35 cheques’.

According to the amended charge, Ahmad Zahid was alleged to have committed the offence by being directly involved in a transaction involving proceeds from illegal activities, by ordering Omar Ali Abdullah, to convert for him a cash amounting to RM7,511,250.20 into 35 cheques that were later handed over to Messrs Lewis & Co for the purpose of opening fixed deposit accounts in Maybank.

Ahmad Zahid, who is Bagan Datuk MP, was alleged to have committed the offence at Marhaba Enterprise Sdn Bhd, Jalan Bukit Bintang, near here on March 29, 2016 and July 15, 2016.

He is facing 47 charges, with 12 of them involving criminal breach of trust (CBT), eight for corruption and 27 for money laundering involving tens of millions of ringgit in funds belonging to Yayasan Akalbudi.

All the money laundering charges under Section 4 (1) (a) of the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act 2001, are punishable under Section 4 (1) of the same law which provides an imprisonment for up to 15 years and fine of not less than five times the amount of the proceeds from unlawful activities or RM5 million, whichever is higher, upon conviction. — Bernama

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