Published:  11:06 AM, 28 July 2020

Former Malaysian PM Najib guilty on all charges

Former Malaysian PM Najib guilty on all charges

Former Malaysian PM Najib Razak has been found guilty of all seven charges in the first of several multi-million dollar corruption trials.

He had pleaded not guilty to the charges of criminal breach of trust, money laundering and abuse of power.

The case was widely seen as test of Malaysia's rule of law and anti-corruption efforts.

The scandal around Malaysia's 1MDB sovereign wealth fund has uncovered a global web of fraud and corruption.

Tuesday's verdicts centred on 42 million ringgit ($10m, £7.7m) transferred from the fund to the then-prime minister's private accounts. Najib was in office from 2009 to 2018.

"After considering all evidence in this trial, I find that the prosecution has successfully proven its case beyond a reasonable doubt," judge Mohamad Nazlan Mohamad Ghazali told the Kuala Lumpur High Court.

Najib denies all wrongdoing and says he was misled by financial advisors - in particular fugitive financier Jho Low who has been charged in both the US and Malaysia, but also maintains his innocence.

The charges carry as much as 15 to 20 years in prison each. Before the verdict, he said he would appeal if found guilty.

The 1 Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) fund was set up in 2009, when Najib Razak was prime minister, to boost the country's economic development.

In 2015, questions were raised around its activities after it missed payments owed to banks and bondholders.

Malaysian and US authorities allege that about $4.5bn was illicitly plundered from the fund and diverted into private pockets.

The missing money has been linked to luxury real estate, a private jet, Van Gogh and Monet artworks - and even a Hollywood blockbuster.

Last week, US bank Goldman Sachs reached a $3.9bn (£3bn) settlement with the Malaysian government for its role in the multi-billion-dollar corruption scheme.

The deal resolved charges in Malaysia that the bank had misled investors when it helped raise $6.5bn for 1MDB.

Najib was cleared of all wrongdoing by Malaysian authorities while he was still prime minister.

Nonetheless, the allegations played a big part in his election defeat in 2018 - and the new government swiftly reopened investigations into the 1MDB case.

Najib's wife, Rosmah Mansor, is facing charges of money-laundering and tax evasion, to which she has pleaded not guilty.

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