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Malaysian ex-PM’s lawyer charged with money laundering

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia — A top Malaysian lawyer for former Prime Minister Najib Razak has been charged with receiving 9.5 million ringgit ($2.3 million) from his client in allegedly ill-gotten wealth.

Muhammad Shafee Abdullah pleaded not guilty Thursday to money laundering and making false declaration in his income tax.

Shafee is the main defense lawyer for Najib, who faces charges of money laundering, criminal breach of trust and corruption linked to the looting of the 1MDB state fund months after his electoral defeat.

Shafee last week said the payment was for legal services previously done for Najib’s then-ruling coalition, and that he had no knowledge of the source of the money.

He had expressed concern he was being victimized to discourage him from defending Najib.