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Malaysian Police See No Crime in Top Investigator’s Sydney Bank Deposits

N. Nantha
Kuala Lumpur
2018-03-02
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Journalists stand outside Malaysian police headquarters in Kuala Lumpur, Feb. 19, 2017.
AP

An internal inquiry cleared Malaysia’s chief crimes investigator of “any form of indictable offenses,” national police said Friday, after Australia had seized AUS $320,000 from his Sydney bank account on suspicion that it held laundered money or criminal proceeds.

Deposits in the account of Ahmad Najmuddin Mohd, chief of Malaysia’s Federal Criminal Investigation Department (CID), were proceeds from the sale of his house in Shah Alam, Malaysian Police Inspector General Mohamad Fuzi Harun said, citing an internal probe. The deposits amounted to the equivalent of some U.S. $248,000 or 969,700 ringgit.

“It is baseless to assume that the source of the money was from questionable origins or Ahmad Najmuddin was involved in any form of indictable offences,” Fuzi said in a statement.

Najmuddin initially opened the bank account in 2011 to support his son’s education in Australia, and it was subsequently reactivated in 2016 to also help his daughter obtain a master’s degree in Sydney, Fuzi said, adding that the officer had provided enough documents to justify his deposits.

But according to a report in the Sydney Morning Herald, Australian police launched an investigation after bank officials discovered a “flurry of suspicious cash deposits” into Najmuddin’s Commonwealth Bank “Goal Saver” bank account. It had been dormant after being opened seven years ago. Australian police then froze his accounts.

“There does not appear to be any apparent lawful reason for the form and manner of the deposits,” an Australian police officer said in an affidavit cited by the newspaper.

Najmuddin, 59, was previously the police chief in the southern Malaysian city of Johor. He was appointed to head the Federal CID in August last year.

BenarNews could not immediately reach Najmuddin for comment. The Sydney Morning Herald reported that he had not tried to wrest the money back from Australian authorities, quoting him as denying any wrongdoing but saying that court action was too expensive.

The newspaper said deposits below AUS $10,000 (U.S. $7,750 or 30,300 ringgit) had started coming in a week after Najmuddin visited Australia in 2016, and multiple deposits were made at different branches and ATMs around the country.

The SMH report said Najmuddin’s account balance quickly grew within a month, leading authorities to suspect that the money had been laundered or came from proceeds of a crime.

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