Tuesday, 23 October, 2018

Former PM leaves court amid cheers of 'Hidup Najib'

Malaysia's former prime minister Najib Razak arrives for a court appearance at the Duta court complex in Kuala Lumpur Malaysia's former prime minister Najib Razak arrives for a court appearance at the Duta court complex in Kuala Lumpur Credit AFP
Melinda Barton | 10 August, 2018, 09:26

Kuala Lumpur: Malaysia's former prime minister Najib Razak was hit with new charges on Wednesday linked to a multi-billion-dollar financial scandal that contributed to his shock election defeat in May.

All of the charges against him involve the transfer of 42 million ringgit (£8m) into his bank accounts from SRC International, a former unit of the 1MDB fund that international investigators say was looted of billions by Mr Najib's associates.

Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak has claimed trial to three counts of money laundering at the High Court here.

The charges were read out in a Sessions Court in Kuala Lumpur and the case is now being transferred to the High Court, where Najib is expect to enter a plea for each of the charges later on Wednesday.

The charges were added to an earlier four - three counts of criminal breach of trust and one count of abuse of power - imposed in July on Najib, who founded and chaired 1MDB after becoming prime minister in 2009.

Tan Sri Irwan was removed from his post and that of 1MDB chairman after Najib was ousted.

When asked if he thinks the case was a witch hunt, Shafee said: "My client and I hope that's not the case".

The scandal at 1MDB fully erupted in 2015 after media reports that hundreds of millions of dollars from 1MDB were diverted to his personal accounts.

The yacht which was seized by Indonesian authorities previous year, was purchased by Malaysian financier Jho Low in 2014, a close family friend of Najib.

Najib and his allies are accused of plundering billions of dollars from 1MDB to buy everything from United States real estate to artworks.

Najib told reporters he had no knowledge that Equanimity was purchased using 1MDB funds.

Lawsuits filed in U.S. courts by the DOJ allege that an estimated US$4.5 billion was misappropriated from 1MDB by high-level officials of the fund and their associates.

"He will be charged under the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act (Amla) 2001", said the MACC.

On Tuesday, a luxury yacht that was allegedly procured using stolen money from 1MDB was returned to the Malaysian government.