KUALA LUMPUR — Lebanese “billionaire” Elie Youssef Najem was sentenced on Friday to six years and five months’ jail after the Magistrate’s Court found him guilty of two counts of cheating, and a charge of abusing his social visit pass five years ago.

Elie Youssef Najem

Magistrate Mohd Azali Ibrahim sentenced Elie, 50, to three years’ jail on each of the cheating charges and five months’ jail for abusing his social visit pass.

He meted out the sentence after ruling that the defence had failed to raise reasonable doubts on the case, and ordered the sentence to run consecutively from today.

Mohd Azali, however, granted a stay of execution of the jail sentence pending appeal to the High Court, and allowed the accused a bail of RM40,000 in two Malaysian sureties and had his passport impounded.

Elie, who made headlines when he promised to donate RM1 billion to the National Cancer Council of Malaysia in 2006, was charged with deceiving Tan Sim Chai, 64, into handing over nine Maybank cheques totalling RM22,000 to him on assumption that he would pay back the loan when he received money from abroad totalling 2.6 million pound sterling.

He was charged with committing the offence at a house in Megan Avenue 2, Jalan Yap Kwan Seng, here, at 10pm on Sept 12, 2005.

Elie was also charged with deceiving Tan, based on the same assumption, to hand over RM13,000 at 11pm on Sept 13, 2005 at the same place.

He also faced a third charge of abusing his social visit pass by working as a company director.

Eight prosecution witnesses and a defence witness testified during the trial.

Earlier, lawyer S. Selvam, representing Elie, asked for a stay of execution of the sentence on the ground that his client had health problems including diabetes and needed treatment.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Nor Aizam Aiza Zamran objected and said that the ground for the request was irrelevant because he would still have access to the treatment even if he was in jail.