Malaysia’s ex-PM Najib found guilty of corruption - GulfToday

Malaysia’s ex-PM Najib found guilty of corruption

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Malaysia's former prime minister Najib Razak arrives at the court. File photo

Malaysia's former prime minister Najib Razak was found guilty of corruption on Tuesday in the first trial linked to a multi-billion dollar scandal at state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).

The case has been widely seen as a test for Malaysia's efforts to stamp out corruption and could have big political implications for the Southeast Asian nation.

"After considering all evidence in this trial, I find that the prosecution has successfully proven its case beyond a resonable doubt," Kuala Lumpur High Court Judge Mohamad Nazlan Mohamad Ghazali said.


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Najib has said he would appeal any decision at the federal court and his lawyers sought a delay in sentencing. The corruption charges carry hefty fines and jail terms of up to 15 or 20 years.

Najib faced seven charges of criminal breach of trust, money laundering and abuse of power for allegedly illegally receiving nearly $10 million from former 1MDB unit SRC International. He had pleaded not guilty.

That's only a fraction of the money that Najib is alleged to have misappropriated from 1MDB. Prosecutors say more than $1 billion of 1MDB funds made its way into his personal accounts - over which he faces a total of 42 criminal charges.

US and Malaysian authorities say a total of $4.5 billion is believed to have been stolen from 1MDB, a fund Najib founded, and used across the world to buy art, a superyacht and fund the "Wolf of Wall Street" movie.

US officials have said the amount of money stolen "from the people of Malaysia is staggering", with former US attorney-general Jeff Sessions describing the scandal as kleptocracy at its worst.

Allegations of corruption over 1MDB have hung over Najib for more than five years. But the criminal charges came only after his defeat in the 2018 election when his successor Mahathir Mohamad reopened investigations.

"The conviction sends a strong message that leaders will be held accountable for wrongdoings in office," opposition lawmaker Charles Santiago said. "He can't steal people's money and expect to walk free."

Reuters

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