Malaysia charges former PM Najib with abuse of power, money laundering

By Reuters   September 20, 2018 | 12:09 am PT
Malaysia charges former PM Najib with abuse of power, money laundering
Malaysia's former prime minister Najib Razak speaks to Reuters during an interview in Langkawi, Malaysia June 19, 2018. Photo by Reuters/Edgar Su
Malaysian prosecutors on Thursday charged former Prime Minister Najib Razak with abuse of power and money laundering.

They charged Najib with four counts of abuse of power regarding an amount of 2.3 billion ringgit ($556.23 million) in state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).

Prosecutors also charged him with 21 counts of money laundering.

Najib pleaded not guilty to all 25 charges.

Najib, who founded 1MDB in 2009, has faced intense scrutiny since unexpectedly losing a general election in May to Mahathir Mohamad, who reopened investigations into allegations that billions of dollars were stolen from the fund.

Noor did not say whether the 21 money laundering charges related to 1MDB but lawsuits filed by the United States Department of Justice allege that $681 million made its way into Najib’s account from the fund.

Najib was charged with money laundering, criminal breach of trust and abuse of power in July and August relating to funds of about 42 million ringgit ($10.14 million) that allegedly flowed from SRC International, a former 1MDB unit, into his personal bank account.

Najib has pleaded not guilty to all charges so far and has consistently denied wrongdoing. The SRC trial will begin in February.

1MDB is being investigated by at least six countries, including Singapore, Switzerland and the United States, over alleged money laundering and graft.

SRC had been the initial focus of Malaysian investigators because all the suspicious transactions involving it went through Malaysian entities.

($1=4.1350 ringgit)

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