KUALA LUMPUR: Prominent lawyer Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah is seeking to recuse the High Court judge presiding over his money-laundering case related to the RM9.5 million received from former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.
In an oral application, Shafee had, through his counsel Harvinderjit Singh, sought to recuse judge Collin Lawrence Sequerah on the basis that the judge was also presiding over Najib’s case.
Shafee is representing Najib in the case on 25 money-laundering and graft charges involving RM2.3 billion.
“There are two other judges that were not involved in hearing Najib’s case. My client has no issue with other judges hearing his case,” said Harvinderjit.
Lead prosecutor Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram did not object to Shafee’s application and said it was up to the court to decide.
“Trial dates have been fixed. If your Lordship decides to recuse, the trial dates will be taken up by the next judge,” he said.
The court then fixed April 15, next year, for case managment.
Shafee, when met outside the court, said he would be filing a formal application to recuse the judge this week.
On Sept 13, Shafee was charged with two counts of money-laundering at the Sessions Court.
He was also charged under the Income Tax Act with two counts of making false declarations to the Inland Revenue Board for not including the RM9.5 million in his tax filing for the year.
On the first and second counts, Shafee was alleged to have been involved in money-laundering activities by receiving proceeds of unlawful activities via two cheques belonging to Najib totaling RM4.3 million and RM5.2 million respectively, on Sept 13, 2013 and Feb 17, 2014.
The offences were allegedly committed at the CIMB Bank Bhd branch in Taman Tunku, Bukit Tunku, here.
On the third and fourth counts, Shafee was alleged to have committed acts contrary to Section 113(1)(a) of the Income Tax Act 1967 by omitting the income he received on Sept 13, 2013 totalling RM4.3 million, and on Feb 17, 2014 totalling RM5.2 million.
He was accused of committing the offences at the Duta branch of IRB at the Government Complex in Jalan Tuanku Abdul Halim on March 3, 2015 and June 29, 2015.