KUALA LUMPUR, March 13 (CNA) - Former Malaysian prime minister Muhyiddin Yassin was on Monday (Mar 13) charged with an additional count of money laundering. This brings the total number of charges against him to seven thus far.

According to local media, the Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia’s (Bersatu) president pleaded not guilty and has claimed trial to accepting RM5 million (US$1.1 million) in proceeds from unlawful activities.

The Star reported on Monday that the prosecution alleged that Muhyiddin abused his position as Bersatu president to receive bribes of RM5 million from Bukhary Equity Sdn Bhd which were deposited into Bersatu’s bank accounts.

The offences were allegedly committed on Jan 7, 2022.

The money laundering charge carries a penalty of up to 15 years in jail and a fine of not less than five times the value of the proceeds of any illegal transfers, or RM5 million, whichever is higher.

Bernama reported that Muhyiddin’s case in the Shah Alam Sessions Court was transferred to Kuala Lumpur Sessions Court to be heard together with the other charges he is facing.

Last Friday, the Perikatan Nasional (PN) chairman claimed trial to four abuse of power charges as well as two other counts of money laundering.

This comes a day after he was questioned by the country’s anti-graft agency for alleged misuse of funds from the Jana Wibawa initiative.

The programme was introduced in November 2020, when Muhyiddin was prime minister, as a COVID-19 stimulus package to help Bumiputera contractors.

The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission had been investigating allegations that the chosen contractors for the aid programme had deposited RM300 million into Bersatu’s accounts.

Muhyiddin was Malaysia’s eighth prime minister from March 2020 to August 2021, assuming the top position following a political manoeuvre known as the “Sheraton Move” in Feb 2020 that saw Bersatu leave Pakatan Harapan.