Malaysian authorities arrest former premier Najib Razak

Jul 04, 2018, 13:41
Malaysian authorities arrest former premier Najib Razak

After spending the night in detention, Najib arrived at the court in the capital Kuala Lumpur on Wednesday wearing a dark blue suit and a red tie. Local media reports said some of the accounts belonged to Najib's political party.

The former prime minister is under investigation over a multibillion-dollar corruption scandal at the 1MDB state fund. Prosecutors in at least six countries, including the United States, have been investigating Najib's role in the disappearance of funds.

He also faced three separate charges under Section 409 of the Penal Code for criminal breach of trust amounting to RM27 million, RM5 million and RM10 million respectively - totaling RM42 million - all allegedly siphoned from SRC International.

If found guilty, the former premier could face a maximum jail sentence of 20 years and fine of up to five times the value of the bribe. Whipping is also a penalty but Najib would probably be exempt because of his age.

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It said Malaysia's new attorney general, Tommy Thomas, will head the prosecution in the case.

After almost seven hours in court, former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak said that if the charges meted out against him was the price he had to pay for his 42 years of government service, then he would gladly accept it. But as the newspaper notes, "a surprising election defeat in May stripped Mr. Najib of his ability to block investigations in Malaysia into what worldwide prosecutors allege is one of the largest financial frauds of all time".

"I am confident in my innocence and this is the best chance to clean my name of all wrongdoing, allegations and slander", he added.

Najib's denial of wrongdoing came on the same day that authorities froze more 408 bank accounts related to $271 million believed to have come from 1MDB.

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That includes luxury handbags, jewelry, various other goods, and even cash, and they were seized as part of a wide-ranging investigation into 1MDB, a state investment firm that is embroiled in a massive scandal in Malaysia and from which Razak is accused of embezzling millions.

The US Department of Justice has alleged in lawsuits that more than $4.5bn (£3.4bn) from 1MDB was laundered through a complex web of transactions and shell companies, of which $681m ended in Najib's bank account.

In a pre-recorded message posted on Twitter after his arrest, Najib said he was not flawless and "not all the accusations against me and my family are true".

Najib's laywer Muhammad asked for the case to be expedited.

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