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  HOME | Business & Economy (Click here for more)

Malaysiaís Najib to Present His Defense in Corruption Case

BANGKOK Ė A Malaysian court ordered former Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak on Monday to present his defense on charges of alleged abuse of power and money laundering in the misappropriation of the stateís sovereign wealth fund.

The judges ruled that the prosecution had established Najibís dishonest use of his political position for personal benefit from the 1Malaysia Development Berhad state fund, according to state news agency Bernama.

The first case involves three illegal transfers of a total of 42 million ringgit ($10 million) from SRC International, a 1MDB unit, to Najibís private account.

He faces three counts of money laundering, three counts of breach of trust and one count of abuse of power.

Najib, who pleads not guilty, is set to present his defense on Dec. 3, his lawyer Shafee Abdullah told the media.

The 1MDB corruption scandal was uncovered in 2015 by the Wall Street Journal and the Sarawak Report portal, which exposed the alleged diversion of the 2.6 billion ringgit ($627 million) to Najibís private accounts.

The corruption charges led to Najibís downfall in last yearís elections as he faces 42 charges including money laundering and abuse of power. Najib headed the government between 2009 and 2018.

The United States Justice Department has estimated that the total amount of money embezzled from the fund reached $4.5 billion, of which around $1 billion were laundered inside the country through the purchase of the luxury real estate, yachts, jewelry and artworks.

Najib created 1MDB in 2009, the year he rose to power, to attract foreign investment and create a financial district in the capital, Kuala Lumpur.

However, the fund ended up accumulating a debt of 42 billion ringgit.

 

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