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Malaysian ex-PM Najib charged with money-laundering

Malaysian ex-PM Najib charged with money-laundering”

Malaysia's former Prime Minister Najib Razak pleaded not guilty to money laundering charges slapped on him on Wednesday, as the country's new government looked for answers to how billions of dollars went missing from a state fund 1MDB during his term.

The charges were read out in a Sessions Court in Kuala Lumpur and the case is now being transferred to the High Court, where Najib is expect to enter a plea for each of the charges later on Wednesday.

The charges came a month after Najib was charged with three counts of criminal breach of trust and one charge of abuse of power.

As for the sole charge of abusing his position for self-gratification of RM42 million in the course of a government decision, a minor change amended mention of Najib's "participation or involvement in" to just "involvement in" a decision on behalf of the government to give government guarantee for RM4 billion of loans from civil servants' pension fund Retirement Fund Incorporated (KWAP) to SRC International.

Malaysia's anti-corruption commission said earlier all the charges are related to a 42-million-ringgit (10.3 million USA dollars) deposit into Najib's personal bank account by SRC International, a former unit of state fund 1MDB.

Local newspapers said the charges carry a punishment of up to 15 years' prison and a fine of up to five times the monetary amount involved.

Razak was barred from leaving the country and the case was reopened after he lost the elections to his former mentor Mahathir Mohamad on May 9.

His is accused of having received 42m ringgit ($10m; £8m) from state fund 1MDB in his personal bank account.

About 30 supporters were gathered outside the court, shouting, "Hidup Najib" (Long live Najib).

Tan Sri Irwan was removed from his post and that of 1MDB chairman after Najib was ousted.

After Najib left its office, the anti-graft agency said he would be charged under the anti-money laundering act.

Najib, 65, pleaded not guilty before High Court judge Datuk Azman Abdullah.

He's accused of stealing more than $13 million from a state investment fund, just part of the $4.5 billion U.S. investigators claim was siphoned from the fund known as 1MDB. Police have also seized jewelry and valuables valued at more than 1.1 billion ringgit ($270.2 million) from properties linked to Najib.

On Tuesday, a luxury yacht that was allegedly procured using stolen money from 1MDB was returned to the Malaysian government.



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