Ex-Malaysian PM to face more money laundering charges

Former Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak will appear before a court on Thursday where he faces 21 fresh charges of money laundering linked to the corruption case involving the state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).

Najib was detained on Wednesday after appearing at the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission and taken to the police headquarters where he was interrogated about the 2.6 billion ringgit ($627 million) allegedly diverted from 1MDB to his private accounts, reports Efe news.

The former leader, who after the police interrogation will be brought before a judge, faces nine charges of receiving illegal money, five more of use of illegal money and another seven for transfer of illegal money to other entities, all of them typified under the law as money laundering, the Malaysian police said.

The charges were added to the four others of abuse of power that were made against him in July and another three for money laundering in August for the entry into his accounts of some $10 million from SRC International, a subsidiary of 1MDB.

Najib, 65, was Prime Minister of Malaysia from 2009 until May, when plagued by corruption scandals, he lost the general elections to the opposition led by veteran Mahathir Mohamad, his former mentor.

The corruption scandal at 1MDB was uncovered in 2015 by an investigation conducted by the Wall Street Journal and the Sarawak Report portal which revealed the diversion of the 2.6 billion ringgit to his private accounts.

Najib had then alleged that the money was a donation from the Saudi Royal house and the prosecution had exonerated him of any crime.

The US Department of Justice estimated that about $4.5 billion were diverted from 1MDB, of which about $1 billion would have been laundered in the US through the purchase of real estate, yachts, jewelery and works of art, among other goods.

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