Malaysia set to begin biggest 1MDB trial involving ex-PM Najib
19 Aug 2019

Malaysia’s former prime minister, Najib Razak, on Monday faces the biggest of five trials linked to a multi-billion-dollar scam at state fund 1MDB, although lawyers are seeking a delay to allow time for the completion of a previous trial.

Najib, who lost a general election last year, has been hit with 42 criminal charges of graft and money laundering at 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) and other state entities.

1MDB, founded by Najib in 2009, is being investigated in at least six countries, and the U.S. Department of Justice says about $4.5 billion was misappropriated from the fund.

In his second trial at the Kuala Lumpur High Court, Najib will have to fight 21 charges of money laundering and four of abuse of power for receiving illegal transfers of about 2.3 billion ringgit ($550.8 million) between 2011 and 2014.

He has pleaded not guilty and says the charges are politically motivated.

On Friday, prosecutors handed to the defense thousands of pages of documents related to the case, government lawyer Ahmad Akram Gharib told Reuters.

“Under the rules, a trial can only begin at least two weeks after all the related documents are handed over,” he said, adding that about 60 witnesses were expected to be called in the second case.

The first trial, which began in April and revolves around former 1MDB unit SRC International, was adjourned on Aug. 14 after Najib contracted an eye infection, halting the cross-examination of the prosecution’s final witness.

That case is also expected to resume on Monday, and lawyers from both sides hope the second trial can be delayed to allow prosecutors to wrap up the first.

By Rozanna Latiff, Reuters, 16 August 2019

Read more at Reuters

Photos: Firdaus Latif [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

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