04 Apr 2019
AP — Former Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak sat in the dock Wednesday at the start of his corruption trial, with the chief prosecutor alleging he wielded “near absolute power” for nearly a decade during which he stands accused of pilfering millions of dollars from the 1MDB state investment fund.
“The accused is not above the law and his prosecution and this trial should serve as precedents for all future holders of this august office,” Attorney General Tommy Thomas said in his opening statement.
The trial was originally due to start in February but was delayed by procedural matters. Najib’s lawyers on Wednesday filed an urgent motion to challenge the charges, which include criminal breach of trust, money laundering and abuse of power. The High Court judge said he will hear the application at a later date and ordered the trial to proceed.
Ten years ago this Wednesday, Najib became Malaysia’s sixth prime minister but anger over the 1MDB scandal led to his spectacular electoral loss last May. U.S. investigators say more than $4.5 billion was stolen from 1MDB by associates of Najib between 2009 and 2014. They say the ill-gotten gains were laundered through layers of bank accounts in the U.S. and other countries to finance Hollywood films and buy hotels, a luxury yacht, art works, jewelry and other extravagances.
By Eileen Ng, AP, 3 April 2019
Read more at the Associated Press
Photo: Firdaus Latif
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