Former Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak's trial on the 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) scandal will begin on Aug 19 as scheduled, following a High Court decision on Monday (Jul 8) to dismiss the prosecution's application to postpone the case.
Attorney-General Tommy Thomas had earlier requested to postpone the 1MDB trial to make way for the ongoing SRC International trial, which might not be completed by Aug 15, reports Bernama.
"It would be difficult for trial number two (referring to the 1MDB case) to commence before the disposal of the first case (SRC International) in court," he said. Thomas' application was supported by Najib's lawyer Muhammad Shafee Abdullah. In denying the request, High Court Judge Collin Lawrence Sequerah said it was the third postponement sought by the Attorney-General.
"Hence the trial will commence on Aug 19 at 9am," the judge said. The 1MDB trial will take place for the rest of August and throughout September and October, except for Fridays; and the first two weeks in November. Najib is facing 25 corruption and money laundering charges involving RM2.
28 billion (US$550 million) of funds from 1MDB, a state-owned investment arm. Four of the charges were under the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission Act, while the other 21 charges were under the Anti-Money Laundering and Anti-Terrorism Financing Act.
The 65-year-old Member of Parliament for Pekan is also facing three counts of criminal breach of trust, one charge of power abuse and three counts of money laundering involving SRC International Sdn Bhd funds totaling RM42 million.
SRC International is a former subsidiary of 1MDB. Najib had pleaded not guilty to all charges. Last Friday, his stepson Riza Shahriz Abdul Aziz was hauled to court and charged with five counts of money laundering over US$248 million linked to 1MDB.
The 1MDB scandal is being investigated in at least six countries including Singapore and the United States for alleged money laundering and graft. The Malaysian authorities are still looking for businessman Low Taek Jho, or Jho Low, the alleged mastermind behind the 1MDB scandal.
On Sunday, Inspector-General of Police Abdul Hamid Bador told reporters that the police are negotiating with the authorities of "a certain country" to bring Low back to Malaysia. He said the negotiations have to be done meticulously to avoid mistakes and to ensure that the authorities of the country do not feel "pressured" by Malaysian police.
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