Ex-PM Najib Razak charged in 1MBD corruption scandal

Larry Hoffman
July 4, 2018

Since his loss at the polls to mentor-turned-foe Mahathir Mohamad, Najib has been barred from leaving the country and had millions of dollars of items seized from properties linked to him as part of the probe into 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).

Former Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak was arrested Tuesday over a suspicious transfer of $10.4 million (U.S.) into his bank accounts from a former unit of the 1MDB state investment fund that investigators say was looted of billions by associates of Najib.

Mahathir, 92, said in an interview with Reuters last month that embezzlement and bribery with government money were among the charges that Malaysia was looking to bring against Najib, 64, adding they had "an nearly flawless case" against him.

A spokesperson for Najib said the charges and 1MDB investigation were "politically motivated", News Asia reported.

"I asked him to support the (Malaysian) government because I thought their government has a record of supporting governments which are somewhat friendly with them", Najib told Malaysiakini.

Prior to this, it was not known who will represent Najib who has already parted ways with two separate legal teams.

Najib was charged with three counts of criminal breach of trust (CBT) and one count of graft.

A high-profile team lead by Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail - who was the Attorney General then - was disbanded in June 2015 a few days before they were about to firm up charges against Mr Najib for alleged bribery of some RM32mil.

National television networks broadcast live images of Najib's convoy moving through morning rush-hour traffic to the court in the capital, Kuala Lumpur, an extraordinary spectacle few could have imagined before the May 9 election upset.

"We have a strong prima facie case which we intend to prove in the trial", Thomas told reporters after the hearing.

A day before his arrest, Najib repeated his claim that another mysterious $680 million was a donation from a member of the Saudi royal family.

Under his leadership, the Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition lost an election for the first time since it began governing in 1957 following Malaysia's independence from Britain.

Outside the court today, about 100 Najib supporters held placards calling for his release. Sources close to the matter said he may face several charges.

Najib Razak's lawyer says the prosecution team, led by Attorney-General Tommy Thomas, seems to be still looking for evidence in the case.

Najib has consistently denied wrongdoing in relation to 1MDB.

Thomas spoke briefly in English to say he would take questions from reporters.

Initially, Shafee requested the bail amount to be reduced to RM500,000 and explained the original amount would have forced Najib's family to resort to soliciting funds from relatives and friends in order to to raise that much money. "There were some witnesses who disappeared, ran overseas", and some were clearly told by officials from other government agencies to do so, said the Macc official.

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