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Malaysian former PM sentenced for 12-years jail term in 1MDB corruption trial



Malaysian former PM Najib Razak sentenced for 12-years jail term in 1MDB corruption trial




July 29, 2020, Wednesday

Anjana Gopinath


A Malaysian Court has sentenced former Prime Minister Najib Razak to 12 years in prison after finding him guilty on all seven counts in the first of several multi-million-dollar corruption trials.


Najib, who was the Prime Minister of Malaysia from 2009 to 2018 was sentenced to 12 years in prison for abuse of power, 10 years each for three counts of criminal breach of trust, and 10 years each for three counts of money laundering, as well as a fine of 210 million ringgits (USD 49.4 million). However, the sentence shall run concurrently, i.e., Najib will face up to 12 years in Jail.


The case revolves around the 1 Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), a sovereign wealth fund set up in 2009 when Najib Razak was the Prime Minister. Questions about the activities of 1MDB were raised in 2015 after it missed payments owed to banks and bondholders. The Malaysian and US authorities had alleged that $4.5 billion was illegally obtained from the fund and directed to the pockets of private parties. The prosecutors have linked the money to luxury real estate, a private jet, and even artworks.


Judge Mohamad Nazlan Mohamad Gazali of the Kuala Lumpur High Court stated that “after considering all evidence in this trial, I find that the prosecution has successfully proven its case beyond a reasonable doubt.” The Court rejected Mr. Najib’s defense that the theft was carried out without his knowledge by Jho Low, a wealthy Malaysian businessman who is accused of masterminding the crime.


The conviction has created disturbance through the political establishment of Malaysia, leading to the collapse of the UMNO party to which Najib belonged.


Najib is also facing 21 counts of money laundering and four of abuse of power. However, he denies all the allegations leveled against him. He also states that he would be successful in the appeal which follows the current judgment. Rosmah Mansor, the wife of the former PM is also facing charges related to money-laundering and tax evasion, to which she has pleaded not guilty.


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