Former Malaysian premier Najib Razak charged with breach of trust, graft

Former Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak was charged on Wednesday with criminal breach of trust and corruption, two months after a multibillion-dollar graft scandal at a state investment fund led to his shock election defeat. He pleaded not guilty to all charges. “I claim trial,” he said in a barely audible voice as he stood in the dock at the High Court in Kuala Lumpur. Prosecutors demanded 4 million ringgit ($1 million) bail, but the judge set it at 1 million ringgit in cash ($250,000) and ordered Najib to surrender his two diplomatic passports.
The patrician and luxury-loving Najib, wearing a suit and a red tie, appeared calm and smiled as he was escorted into the court complex. He was arrested Tuesday by anti-graft officials over a suspicious transfer of 42 million ringgit ($10.4 million) into his bank accounts from SRC International, a former unit of the 1MDB state investment fund that U.S. investigators say was looted of billions by associates of Najib.
The extravagance of Najib Razak and Rosmah Mansor
Goods worth $273 million have been seized from the homes of Malaysia’s former PM Najib Razak, including cash, jewellery, purses and other luxury items.
He was charged with abuse of power leading to gratification under Malaysia’s anti-corruption law and three counts of criminal breach of trust. Each charge has a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison. Whipping is also a penalty but Najib would be exempt because of his age.Malaysia’s new attorney general, Tommy Thomas, who is heading the prosecution, said the 1MBD case has attracted global attention and “brought shame to the country.” Najib’s lawyer Muhammad Shafee Abdullah protested the comment calling it “nonsense” and “coffeeshop talk.”
Najib, 64, has accused Malaysia’s new government of seeking “political vengeance.” In a recorded video posted on social media hours after his arrest, Najib apologized to Malaysians but remained defiant.“As a normal human being, I am not perfect but believe me that the accusations against me and my family are not all true,” he said.
New Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad reopened investigations into 1MDB that were stifled under Najib’s rule. Najib set up 1MDB when he took power in 2009 but the fund amassed billions in debts and is being investigated in the U.S. and several other countries.