Crime & Courts

Charges against Najib's former media adviser Stadlen withdrawn

KUALA LUMPUR: The money laundering charges against Datuk Seri Najib Razak's former media adviser Paul Stadlen have been withdrawn after he agreed to release over RM7.1 million.

MACC in a statement said the money which was seized by the anti-graft agency would be transferred into the trustee account of 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB).

"Paul Stadlen has agreed to willingly release RM7,192,873.84 and all of the money will be transferred into 1MDB's trustee account.

"The matter was decided after taking into account that it was a reasonable amount to be forfeited. Accordingly, the case against him is withdrawn," it said.

Stadlen was on Feb 20, 2019, charged in absentia at the magistrate's court, here, under Section 4(1)(a) of the Anti-Money Laundering and Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act 2001 (AMLATFPUAA) involving RM15 million.

He was accused of ordering the transfer of payment from illegal activities from a bank account of a client of law firm Messrs Hafarizam Wan & Aisha Mubarak, to several individuals and companies between June 2014 and August 2015.

Following the withdrawal of Stadlen's charges, the Attorney-General's Chambers (AGC) made an offer to lawyer Datuk Mohd Hafarizam Harun who agreed to pay a compound of RM590,587.26 for him to be acquitted of his money laundering charges involving the same amount he purportedly received from Najib.

"The AGC has decided to impose a compound on Hafarizam on reasonable grounds following the withdrawal of the charges against Paul Stadlen.

"The charge against Hafarizam was withdrawn after he settled the compound, " the statement read.

Hafarizam, who is a former partner of the law firm was acquitted and discharged by the Sessions Court after the prosecution withdrew all the three charges against him.

He paid the compound yesterday.

Hafarizam, 49, who is known for handling Najib's civil cases was charged with depositing a total of RM15 million in cheques from Najib into his law firm's bank account.

According to the first charge, he was accused of being directly involved in money laundering and received RM7.5 million in illegal proceeds from Najib on April 16, 2014, which was deposited into his law firm Hafarizam Wan & Aisha Mubarak's client account.

For the second and third charges, he was accused of receiving RM4 million and RM3.5 million in illegal proceeds respectively from Najib between Nov 7 and Jan 21, 2015, which was also deposited into his law firm.

The charges were framed under Sections 4(1)(a) and 4(1)(b) of the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act.

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