How RM1.4m ended up on Zahid, wife’s credit cards over two years

Ida Lim
Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi is pictured at the Kuala Lumpur High Court December 3, 2019. — Picture by Firdaus Latif

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 3 — Former minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi and his wife Datin Seri Hamidah Khamis were collectively recorded as putting close to RM1.48 million over 26 months on four Ambank credit cards with a combined spending limit of RM250,000, based on court testimony.

Ambank senior vice president Yeoh Eng Leong disclosed this through his written testimony when going through the credit card statements from December 2013 to January 2016 for principal cardholder Zahid’s Visa card and Mastercard as well as supplementary cardholder Hamidah’s Visa card and Mastercard.

Below are figures from Yeoh’s testimony based on bank documents as well as Malay Mail’s own calculations:

Which cards more actively utilised?

On aggregate, credit card spending on Zahid’s two cards during this period only accounted for RM382,928.63 or about a quarter of the RM1,479,085.44 (RM1.48 million). Spending under Hamidah’s two cards of RM1,096,156.81 was about three times higher than Zahid’s tally, Malay Mail’s calculations showed.

During this period, spending with Zahid’s Visa card was recorded in three monthly statements (totalling RM57,381.25) while his Mastercard recorded activity in seven such statements (RM325,547.38). 

Hamidah’s Visa card was recorded as being used for spending in 23 monthly statements (RM932,276.56) and the Mastercard in 10 monthly statements (RM163,880.25), Malay Mail’s calculations showed.

Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi’s wife Datin Seri Hamidah Khamis leaves the Kuala Lumpur Courts Complex October 19, 2018. — Picture by Azinuddin Ghazali

Where was the spending?

Credit card statements used by Ambank’s Yeoh during Zahid’s ongoing corruption trial showed the credit cards being used locally at places such as the IOI City Mall and Alamanda mall in Putrajaya, KLCC, Pavilion, Maju Junction and Bangsar in Kuala Lumpur, as well as Bangi, Kajang, Petaling Jaya and Shah Alam in Selangor.

The credit cards were also recorded as used globally, including Jakarta in Indonesia, Hanoi in Vietnam, Seoul in Korea, Taipei in Taiwan, Hong Kong, Melbourne in Australia, Palm Beach and New York in the US, London in the UK, Milan and Rome in Italy, Kiev in Ukraine and Dubai in the UAE.

Based on Yeoh’s written testimony as the 10th prosecution witness in Zahid’s corruption trial, the spending ranged from hypermarkets (Giant), department stores (such as Parkson, Isetan, Marks & Spencer, Lotte, Harrods in London, Myer in Australia), jewellery stores (such as Habib Jewels – RM3,764, Poh Kong – RM3,590, Wah Chan – RM4,600, Swarovski – RM7,919.35), luggage stores (such as Rimowa – RM6,396.45), eateries (such as RM1,682 at Shook! in Starhill Gallery and RM3,077.50 at Da On Fine Korean Cuisine in Kuala Lumpur) to hotels.

Senior Vice-President of AmBank Group (Credit Card, Authorisation and Banking Fraud Management) Yeoh Eng Leong is pictured at the Kuala Lumpur High Court December 2, 2019. — Picture by Ahmad Zamzahuri

Spending was also recorded at healthcare-linked spending (pharmacies, hospital), clothing outlets (such as Uniqlo, Ben Sherman, Max Mara, British India) as well as high-end fashion and lifestyle brands (such as Louis Vuitton, Hermes, Giorgio Armani, Burberry, Tod’s, Diane Von Furstenberg, Brioni, Roberto Cavalli, Stuart Weitzman, Zilli), with luxury stores accounting for a huge chunk of the credit card bills.

Some luxury or high-end brands popped up more than once in the credit card statements stated in Yeoh’s testimony, including Brioni (totalling RM50,278.60 via two transactions in Kuala Lumpur and New York), Hermes (totalling RM49,058.95 via three transactions in Milan and Rome in Italy), Burberry (totalling RM44,145.67 via two transactions in Hong Kong and New York), Louis Vuitton (totalling RM43,127.43 in five transactions in KL’s Starhill Gallery, Australia and Jakarta), Giorgio Armani (totalling RM19,866.72 via two transactions in Australia and Rome), and Tod’s (totalling RM11,521,95 in Kuala Lumpur and Jakarta).

Harrods in London accounted for RM42,424.89 via seven transactions in December 2013 and October 2014), Max Mara outlets in Australia and Rome (RM24,840.50), while figures that stand out as sizeable single transactions include Ermenegildo Zegna in London (RM55,402.40), Escada Palm Beach (RM35,019.13), Zilli (RM21,821.90) and Tory Burch (RM19,972.97).

As for spending at hotels, the bill according to the credit card statements range from those for Address Dubai Mall (totalling RM205,792.36), Hotel Hyatt Regency in Kiev, Ukraine (RM24,096.33) and those locally such as Concorde Hotel in Shah Alam (RM2,958.45) and Putrajaya Marriott Hotel at RM1446.95.

As a whole, the 10 largest amounts of total spending as recorded by the monthly credit card statements are mostly under Hamidah’s credit cards, including RM204,366.99 (May 2014 – Malaysia, Vietnam, Australia), RM195,695.16 (June 2015 – New York), RM130,359.83 (April 2014 – Hong Kong, Malaysia, Australia), RM62,756.86 (November 2015 – London, Putrajaya), RM54,843.18 (March 2014 – Australia), RM51,815.92 (October 2015 – Palm Beach in US, Kuala Lumpur), RM51,535.68 (December 2015 – Rome in Italy), based on Malay Mail’s compilation and calculations using information from Yeoh’s written testimony.

The exceptions in the compilation above are those under Zahid’s Mastercard – RM175,011.55 (January 2015 – Dubai ), RM63,701.52 (December 2013 – UK), and RM44,715.33 (December 2014 – Dubai, Shah Alam).

Maybank vice-president in charge of the credit card fraud and dispute management department Anoop Singh Gulzara Singh is seen at the Kuala Lumpur High Court December 2, 2019. — Picture by Ahmad Zamzahuri

No complaints

Again to recap, Malay Mail’s tally of the credit card spending for the four cards during the December 2013-January 2016 period comes up to be almost RM1.48 million.

Deputy public prosecutor Datuk Raja Rozela Raja Toran yesterday asked if any complaints had been made to Ambank over the credit cards, asking Yeoh: “In all the transactions that were recorded in all the credit card statements I showed you, has there been at any time any dispute from cardholders?”

Yeoh replied: “No, we have not received, we don’t have any record of any dispute.”

How much has been paid?

Yeoh yesterday told the court that Zahid as the principal cardholder had given 37 local cheques (two of which were returned) for payment of the four credit cards’ bills during the January 2014 to January 2016 period, based on Ambank’s records.

The total payment received by Ambank for the credit card bills during January to December 2014 is RM534,412.52, and is RM708,134.47 during January to December 2015, and RM54,168.99 for January 2016, Yeoh said.

This would come up to a total payment of RM1,296,715.98 (or close to RM1.3 million) for the January 2014-January 2016 period. Yeoh had separately said that December 2013 records showed Ambank had received a RM247,802.28 cheque as payment.

Today is the sixth day of Zahid’s trial being heard before High Court judge Collin Lawrence Sequerah, with Yeoh expected to be cross-examined by Zahid’s lawyers today.

Yesterday, Maybank’s vice-president Anoop Singh Gulzara Singh also confirmed details of spending under Zahid’s credit cards issued by Maybank including RM5,900 at Louis Vuitton’s KLCC outlet in June 2014, RM7,604.90 in Ukraine in August 2014, as well as RM30,635.80 and RM1,810.66 in Seoul, Korea in 2015.

Zahid is facing 47 charges in this case, namely for alleged criminal breach of trust, bribery and money-laundering.

The prosecution had previously said it will prove during this trial that money was misappropriated by Zahid from charity organisation Yayasan Akalbudi for personal matters such as credit card bills.

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