close
close
Latest

Jailed Malaysia ex-PM Najib acquitted in latest 1MDB trial

Posted March 3, 2023 11:00 am ET

Former Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, center, in Putrajaya, Malaysia on August 23, 2022. (AP)


KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA – Former Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak was acquitted on Friday in the latest trial in response to the multi-billion dollar looting of sovereign wealth fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad.

Najib, who is serving a 12-year sentence after losing the final appeal in his first of several corruption lawsuits linked to the 1MDB scandal, was found not guilty of manipulating an audit report to cover up wrongdoing.

Defense attorney Mohamad Shafee Abdullah said the High Court ruled that prosecutors did not have sufficient evidence to find Najib guilty of abusing his position as prime minister and finance minister to order changes to the 1MDB audit report in 2016 before he was submitted to Parliament.

“My client is very grateful to Allah for today’s decision because it has really boosted his spirit and desire to fight for his innocence,” Shafee said at a news conference on Friday.

The 1MDB development fund was set up months after Najib became prime minister in 2009. Investigators claim more than $4.5 billion was stolen from the fund and laundered by Najib’s associates through layers of bank accounts in the United States and other countries to fund Hollywood movies and extravagant purchases including hotels, a luxury yacht , art and jewelry. More than $700 million ended up in Najib’s bank accounts.

He and his wife Rosmah Mansor faced multiple charges of bribery after the saga led to his ruling coalition’s shock defeat in the 2018 general election. Rosmah was sentenced to 10 years in prison and a record 970 million ringgit ($217 million) in 2022 for corruption at a solar energy project and is out on bail pending appeal.

Read  England left to rue lazy selection decision after lost series in Bangladesh

Shafee said financier Low Taek Jho – believed to be behind the scandal – remained at large.

Former 1MDB CEO Arul Kanda Kandasamy, who was jointly charged with aiding and abetting Najib and appeared as a prosecution witness during the trial, was also acquitted by the court on Friday.

Shafee has claimed that the charges against Najib are politically motivated. Najib is seeking a review of the Supreme Court’s August decision to dismiss his latest appeal and hopes for a positive outcome later this month, he added.

Read  Boris Johnson latest: Michael Gove says former PM is ‘man of integrity’

He and his wife, Rosmah Mansor, were hit with multiple graft charges after the saga led to his ruling coalition's shocking defeat in 2018 general elections. Rosmah was sentenced in 2022 to 10 years in prison and a record fine of 970 million ringgit ($217 million) for corruption over a solar energy project and is out on bail pending an appeal.

Shafee said financer Low Taek Jho -- believed to be the mastermind of the scandal -- remained at large.

Former 1MDB CEO Arul Kanda Kandasamy, who was jointly charged with abetting Najib and appeared as a prosecution witness during the trial, was also acquitted by the court Friday.

Shafee has maintained that charges against Najib were politically motivated. Najib is seeking a review of the top court's decision in August to reject his final appeal and is hoping for a favorable outcome later this month, he added.

-->

Source

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button