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Malaysia’s toppled leader to face new charges

/ 09:41 PM August 07, 2018

Malaysia’s disgraced ex-leader Najib Razak will face new charges in court Wednesday under anti-money laundering laws in a case linked to a multi-billion-dollar graft scandal, authorities said.

The announcement came after Najib, who suffered a shock defeat in May elections, was summoned for a new round of questioning by the anti-corruption agency.

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Najib was arrested last month and charged with criminal breach of trust and abusing his position over accusations he pocketed 42 million ringgit ($10.3 million). The new charges he faces are in relation to the same case, the anti-graft agency said in a statement.

All the charges relate to the scandal surrounding sovereign wealth fund 1MDB, which was set up and overseen by Najib.

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The former leader, his family and cronies are accused of embezzling huge sums that were used to buy everything from artwork to high-end real estate in a sophisticated fraud that spanned the globe.

The graft allegations were a major factor in the defeat of Najib’s long-ruling coalition by a reformist alliance headed by political heavyweight Mahathir Mohamad, 93.

After questioning Najib Tuesday for 45 minutes, the anti-graft agency said he would be charged under the anti-money laundering law in relation to SRC International, an energy company that used to be a subsidiary of 1MDB.

He is to face three new charges, the official news agency Bernama reported.

According to an investigation by the Wall Street Journal, about $10 million originating from SRC was transferred to Najib’s personal bank accounts.

Najib has so far pleaded not guilty to all charges against him.

Shortly after his downfall, a treasure trove of valuables was seized in raids on properties linked to Najib and his family — including cash, jewelry and luxury handbags — worth up to $273 million.

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TAGS: 1MDB scandal, Corruption Scandal, Malaysia, Najib Razak
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