Thursday, October 21, 2021

No proof that funds in ex-Goldman banker’s account were from 1MDB, court told

Roger Ng's lawyer says the burden is on the prosecution to prove this.

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The High Court today was told there was no proof that the 13 bank transactions involving several accounts of former Goldman Sachs banker Roger Ng Chong Hwa and his wife could be linked to the 1MDB scandal.

Lawyer Tan Hock Chuan, representing Ng and his wife, Lim Hwee Bin, submitted that there was no evidence in the affidavits of two investigating officers, Supt Foo Wei Min and ACP R Rajagopal, showing that the flow of funds in the seven accounts was related to 1MDB.

“The money that flowed to the seven accounts belonging to Ng and Lim was their own money and there is no prima facie evidence showing that the funds in their accounts were proceeds of illegal activities.

“The transactions in question were between Aug 7, 2015, and Aug 17, 2018. Out of the seven bank accounts, four were Ng’s, two were his joint accounts with Lim and one was Lim’s,” said Tan in his submission in the government-linked forfeiture suit against the couple and 16 others.

Among the 13 transactions submitted at the hearing today were those involving S$2,656,786.34 in proceeds from the sale of Ng’s house in Singapore on May 19, 2017; RM13,737.50 in company shares on Aug 17, 2018; RM85,864.21 in payment to the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore on May 21, 2018; as well as RM170,183.11 in a transfer of funds between Ng and Lim on Aug 7, 2015.

Tan also submitted that the burden was now on the prosecution to prove on the balance of probability that the bank accounts belonging to the couple were a subject matter in relation to the commission of an offence under the Anti-Money Laundering Act or proceeds from illegal activities.

Tan then asked the court to dismiss the forfeiture suit against Ng and Lim.

The hearing before justice Mohamed Zaini Mazlan will resume on April 5.

On May 8, 2019, the Attorney-General’s Chambers filed a notice of forfeiture over hundreds of items including branded handbags and 27 vehicles seized from former prime minister Najib Razak and his wife, Rosmah Mansor, their three children and 13 individuals and companies, said to be linked to 1MDB.

More than RM18 million in several accounts at Bank Islam Malaysia Bhd, Al-Rajhi Bank Bhd, Malayan Banking Bhd, CIMB Bank Bhd, RHB Bank Bhd, Public Bank Bhd, AmBank Bhd and Hong Leong Bank Bhd was also frozen between Aug 16, 2018, and March 11, 2019.

The notice named Najib as the first respondent followed by Rosmah, Riza Aziz, Nor Ashman Razak Mohd Najib, Nooryana Najwa Mohd Najib, Mohd Kyizzad Mesran, Senijauhar Sdn Bhd, Aiman Ruslan, Yayasan Rakyat 1Malaysia, Yayasan Semesta, Yayasan Mustika Kasih, Rembulan Kembara Sdn Bhd, Goh Gaik Ewe, Ng, Lim, Kee Kok Thiam, Tan Vern Tact and Geh Choh Hun.

The application was filed on grounds that the prosecution, acting under Section 56 (1) read together with Section 376 of the Criminal Procedure Code, was satisfied that the items seized between May 17, 2018, and March 11, 2019, were related to an offence under Section 4 (1) or the result of illegal activities involving the respondents.

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