Wednesday, 21 August, 2019

Ex-PM Najib Razak faces new corruption charges in Malaysia

Najib Razak speaks to the press as he arrives in court Najib Razak speaks to the press as he arrives in court Credit Joshua Paul Bloomberg
Patty Aguilar | 22 September, 2018, 07:21

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia-Prosecutors filed more than two dozen new charges against former Prime Minister Najib Razak, including money laundering and abuse of power, involving hundreds of millions of dollars in one of the world's most expansive financial scandals.

Najib has pleaded not guilty to all charges and has consistently denied wrongdoing.

The money-laundering accusations are related to the so-called 1MDB scandal, drawing its name from the 1Malaysia Development Bhd government investment fund. But Malaysians voted him out earlier this year and he has since come under close scrutiny.

Najib's defence lawyer Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah, however, cited various reasons to object to the RM5 million amount sought, which he said would be tantamount to punishing Najib before he has been convicted.

These fresh charges being brought against him are also in addition to the seven charges for criminal breach of trust, abuse of power and money laundering linked to the RM42 million in the SRC worldwide scandal.

According to NST, the court had allowed Najib to settle his bail of RM3.5 million in instalments.

Nine of those charges are for money laundering, five for the use of ill-gotten gains, and seven for transferring illicit funds to other entities.

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Najib will appear in court Thursday afternoon where he faces several charges related to abuse of power, the anti-corruption commission said.

Malaysia's former prime minister Najib Razak walks out of a courtroom in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia August 8, 2018.

He was released after the judge set bail of 3.5 million ringgit ($846,430), to be paid by September 28.

The case was reopened in May after Najib lost the election in a stunning defeat to Mahathir Mohamad who has banned him and his wife Rosmah Mansor from leaving the country. The suspicious transfers to his accounts were a key chapter in the scandal, and Najib has previously insisted they were a donation from Saudi royalty - an explanation that was widely derided.

Najib has faced corruption allegations since the Wall Street Journal reported in 2015 that $681 million was sent to a personal bank account of the then-prime minister in 2013.

Shafee said his client is not a flight risk as he had voluntarily showed up for Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) and police investigations, and had also given up his two global passports, before urging that the maximum bail amount be fixed at only RM500,000.

Najib was said to have received and used the illegal money during his term of office between 2011 and 2014.

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