Malaysia's ex-PM Najib charged with money laundering

Leroy Wright
August 8, 2018

Malaysia's former prime minister Najib Razak arrives in court in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia August 8, 2018.

In a packed courtroom, the three new charges were read out to Najib.

On the three charges, Najib is alleged to have received RM27 million, RM5 million and RM10 million, respectively, which were proceeds from unlawful activities, via Real Time Electronic Transfer of Funds and Securities (Rentas) into two AmIslamic Bank Berhad accounts of his bearing the numbers 2112022011880 and 2112022011906.

In Malaysia, money laundering carries a penalty of up to 15 years in jail along with hefty fines.

Najib has also been indicted for three cases of cheating by trust (CBT) and abuse of power. He said this is a witch-hunt by the current Pakatan Harapan regime which is trying to please the public after promising to bring Najib to trial.

The case was earlier heard before Sessions Court judge Azura Alwi, who allowed the prosecution's application to transfer the case to the High Court.

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All of the charges against him involve the transfer of 42 million ringgit ($10.3 million) into his bank accounts from SRC International, a former unit of the 1MDB fund that international investigators say was looted of billions by Najib's associates. It added that the additional charges have been approved by the Attorney-General.

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

Following Najib's election loss, police seized a vast trove of items - including expensive handbags and jewelry - from properties linked to him with an estimated value of up to $273 million.

The 300-foot (90-metre) Equanimity, kitted out with a pool and helicopter landing pad, was allegedly bought by playboy financier Jho Low, a friend of Najib´s family who was said to exert great influence over 1MDB.

He and his wife, Rosmah Mansor, have been barred from leaving the country since he lost an election in May, and the new prime minister, his mentor-turned-foe Mahathir Mohamad, relaunched an investigation into 1MDB.

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