KUALA LUMPUR: The money United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) received from 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) has already been used up, and the funds that the graft-busters froze are “clean money”, said party president Mohamad Hasan on Friday (Jun 21).
This came after the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) said it has filed civil forfeiture suits against 41 individuals and entities to recover some RM270 million (US$65 million) related to 1MDB.
The funds in UMNO’s national account are clean, stated Mr Mohamad according to a report by the Star.
"As for the other accounts of UMNO divisions … the ones in charge of those (divisions) would have to make their own arguments. I am speaking as the head of the national party," he said.
"The money that MACC has frozen now in our accounts are not the funds which the national UMNO received from 1MDB. That money (from 1MDB) has long been utilised. What MACC froze are actually clean party funds which we received from well-wishers and donors during the last general election ... This is clean money and not 1MDB funds.”
Earlier on Friday, MACC chief commissioner Latheefa Koya said the forfeiture suits were filed at the Kuala Lumpur High Court on Wednesday under the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act 2001.
She said it was done as the MACC believed that the monies were transferred to the 41 parties from former prime minister Najib Razak's bank account.
The 41 respondents comprise political parties, foundations and companies including UMNO and several of its state divisions as well as the Malaysian Chinese Association.
Ms Latheefa said in her first press conference since assuming the top MACC post that UMNO was the biggest recipient of the disbursed money as it had received a total of RM212 million.
She also said the application filed to forfeit properties and money from 1MDB was the biggest in the country’s history.
Malaysia has so far recovered about RM990 million in 1MDB funds, including cash voluntarily returned by those under probe for receiving illegal proceeds, she added.
Since 2016, the US Department of Justice has filed forfeiture lawsuits on about US$1.7 billion in assets allegedly bought with stolen 1MDB funds, including a private jet, luxury real estate and jewellery.
UMNO TO CHALLENGE FORFEITURE SUIT IN COURT
On Friday, the UMNO leader said that his party’s legal team has written to MACC to request the return of the funds.
“After the period of one year has passed, it will be left up to the courts to decide. So both Umno and MACC will present their arguments in court, and it remains to be seen whose argument has greater weight,” said Mr Mohamad, according to the Malaysian Insight.