Malaysian ex-PM Najib guilty of all charges in first 1MDB trial

Malaysian ex-PM Najib guilty of all charges in first 1MDB trial

The charges were one of abuse of power, three of criminal breach of trust and three of money-laundering.

The counts of abuse of power and criminal breach of trust are punishable by up to 20 years in jail each, while the money-laundering charges are punishable by up to 15 years each.

Sentencing was not handed down straight away. The 67-year-old will likely appeal and he may not be sent to jail immediately. If his conviction is upheld, he will also be barred from political office for several years.

Najib had insisted he was ignorant of the transactions.

The defence team portrayed Najib as a victim and instead sought to paint financier Low Taek Jho, a key figure in the scandal who has been charged in the US and Malaysia, as the mastermind.

Low, whose whereabouts are unknown, maintains his innocence.

Prosecutors insisted Najib was in control of the 1MDB unit, SRC International.

The return of Najib’s party to power as part of a coalition in March followed the collapse of Mahathir Mohamad’s reformist administration.

Since then, 1MDB-linked charges were unexpectedly dropped against the ex-leader’s stepson Riza Aziz, a producer of Hollywood movie “The Wolf of Wall Street”, in exchange for him agreeing to return assets to Malaysia.

Prosecutors also dropped dozens of charges against Najib ally Musa Aman, the former leader of Sabah state.

The amounts involved in Najib’s first case are small compared to those in his second and most significant trial, which centres on allegations he illicitly obtained more than $500 million.

Malaysia had charged Goldman Sachs and some current and former staff, claiming large amounts were stolen when the bank arranged bond issues for 1MDB.

But the two sides agreed to a $3.9 billion settlement last week in exchange for charges being dropped.

Published at Tue, 28 Jul 2020 07:41:47 +0000