Prominent lawyer Muhammad Shafee Abdullah today became the latest to be granted permission to travel abroad, adding to the number of individuals facing strings of charges concerning financial crimes whose passports have been returned for the purpose of personal activities.
Shafee, who is facing money laundering charges involving RM9.5 million received from former prime minister Najib Razak, was granted the order by the Kuala Lumpur High Court, allowing him to travel until Dec 3.
In his application, Shafee said he had to travel to New York to help enrol his son in an institute of higher education there.
Earlier this month, Najib and his wife Rosmah Mansor were granted the temporary release of their passports for travel to Singapore, to accompany their daughter Nooryana Najwa who is expected to give birth to her second child in November.
Najib later said he would have to postpone his trip as he is needed to help the Umno election machinery in the Melaka election slated for Nov 20.
He said he had been entrusted with the responsibility as Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, who is also facing a slew of criminal charges, had likewise been granted permission to travel to Germany to seek medical treatment for his spine.
Zahid is facing 47 charges – 12 of criminal breach of trust, eight of corruption, and 27 of money laundering – involving tens of millions of ringgit belonging to Yayasan Akalbudi.
Najib meanwhile was convicted in July last year of seven counts of criminal breach of trust, money laundering and abuse of power involving RM42 million in SRC International Sdn Bhd funds.
He is also being tried for using his position to order amendments to the final 1MDB audit report before it was presented to the Public Accounts Committee to avoid any action being taken against him.
Rosmah is facing three charges related to the integrated hybrid solar photovoltaic system project as well as the genset/diesel maintenance and operation for 369 rural schools in Sarawak worth RM1.25 billion.