KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 13 — A senior Malaysian lawyer representing a former prime minister has been detained by authorities and is set to be charged with money laundering today.
According to sources, the person will be brought to the Kuala Lumpur Courts Complex this morning where he will be prosecuted under the Anti-Money Laundering and Anti-Terrorism Financing Act (AMLA) 2001.
The charges are believed to stem from a payment the lawyer alleged received from the former PM.
Several media outlets have since identified the lawyer as Tan Sri Shafee Abdullah.
Shafee is leading the defence team of former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, who is charged with money laundering, abuse and criminal breach of trust stemming from RM42 million transferred to his accounts from a former 1MDB subsidiary.
The private lawyer had been appointed by fiat to lead the prosecution of Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s second sodomy trial, which resulted in the latter’s conviction and five-year prison sentence.
An official from the Attorney-General’s Chambers provided Anwar with an affidavit last week showing Najib paid Shafee RM9.5 million for the effort, but the lawyer has insisted the sum was for representing Barisan Nasional in various election petitions.
The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission froze Shafee’s bank accounts last week on suspicion that the funds may be related to the 1MDB corruption scandal.
Shafee has accused authorities of intending to disrupt Najib’s defence by pursuing him over this matter.