Tuesday 28 May 2024
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KUALA LUMPUR (Oct 28): Senior lawyer Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah on Friday (Oct 28) clarified that two Richard Mille watches, which are subject to forfeiture proceedings in the High Court following a raid on the Pavilion condo in May 2018, were actually gifts to jailed former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak from the late Tan Sri Yeoh Tiong Lay, and not from his son Tan Sri Francis Yeoh Seok Ping.

Shafee, who earlier in the day was acquitted of the RM9.5 million money-laundering and income tax charges against him, said he needed to clarify what was reported in several news reports last month.

The lawyer said that Najib’s claim on the watches was that he received gifts from various people, where it was written there as "YTL" in this case.

“This YTL was not Tan Sri Francis Yeoh, but his late father Tiong Lay, giving presents to several Yang Berhormats.

“I wish to make this clarification, so it would be whiter than white,” the lawyer added.

During last month’s forfeiture submissions on the seven Richard Mille watches which the authorities want to seize, it was reported that three were gifts for the former PM.

Earlier reports by The Edge said two of the watches, one costing RM1.58 million and the other RM500,400, were bought by Seok Ping of YTL fame, according to one of Najib’s lawyers, Tania Scivetti.

Scivetti said the RM500,400 watch was paid for by Seok Ping via Taman Equine (M) Sdn Bhd, while the RM1.58 million watch was paid via Syarikat Pembenaan Yeoh Tiong Lay Sdn Bhd.

The third Richard Mille watch, costing RM419,300, was paid for by businessman Datuk Desmond Lim, now a Tan Sri, the lawyer added.

Submission notes for the forfeiture case for Najib, however, referred to the first watch as being purchased by one Datuk Francis via a cheque made from Taman Equine, while the second was made with the notation of "YTL Datuk Francis" and the cheque issued was from Syarikat Pembenaan Yeoh Tiong Lay Sdn Bhd.

Najib’s lawyers want High Court judge Datuk Muhammad Jamil Hussin to allow their third-party claim for the return of the seven watches to the former PM, and dismiss the prosecution’s attempt to forfeit the watches under the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act 2001.

The prosecution had claimed that Alsen Chance Holdings Ltd also paid US$1.58 million to a Richard Mille outlet through two payments in August 2012 for the purchase of the branded watches, and it further claimed that the rest of the watches were from these proceeds of Alsen Chance.

Alsen Chance is a company controlled by Eric Tan Kim Loong, a close associate of fugitive businessman Low Taek Jho (Jho Low) linked to the 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) scandal.

Jamil will deliver his decision on the forfeiture on Nov 14.

Edited BySurin Murugiah
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