Zahid pleads not guilty to amended money-laundering charge

KUALA LUMPUR: Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi (pic) has claimed trial at the High Court here to an amended charge of money laundering involving funds from charity foundation Yayasan Akalbudi.

Still in the middle of his graft trial, which is into its 49th day, the Umno president claimed the amended charge was aimed at making his sentence heavier.

“I understand that this (amended) charge is to increase my sentence. Thank you, I plead not guilty,” he said after the charge was read to him here on Tuesday (March 9).

Earlier, High Court judge Justice Collin Lawrence Sequerah allowed the prosecution’s application to amend the 27th charge against the former deputy prime minister and ordered the new charge to be read out.

Changes made to the charge were on the amount and value of the cheques involved in the case.

In the original charge, 30 cheques were involved to the sum of RM6,885,300.20.

In the amended version, there are 35 cheques involved with a total value of RM7,511,250.20.

According to the amended charge, Zahid is alleged to have committed money laundering by engaging in direct transactions involving proceeds from illegal activities by instructing one Omar Ali Abdullah to convert for him a cash amount of RM7,511,250.20 into 35 cheques that were later given to Messrs Lewis & Co for the opening of Maybank fixed deposit accounts.

He allegedly committed the offence at Marhaba Enterprise Sdn Bhd, LG 1.15, Farenheit88,179 Jalan Bukit Bintang here, on March 29,2016 and July 15,2016.

Zahid, 68, faces 47 charges, 12 for criminal breach of trust (CBT), eight for corruption and 27 for money laundering involving tens of millions of ringgit of funds from Yayasan Akalbudi.

The trial continues Tuesday afternoon.

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