Malaysia ex-PM Najib arrested over massive corruption probe

Riza Aziz

Former prime minister Najib Razak has been charged with three counts of criminal breach of trust and one for accepting a RM42 million (S$14 million) bribe in connection with the 1MDB scandal that led to his political downfall.

In a lower court, he was charged with three counts of criminal breach of trust and one count of corruption. Each charge has a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison. The charge of using his office or position for gratification also carries a fine of not less than five times the value of gratification.

The MACC is believed to have questioned Riza over allegations his firm, Red Granite Pictures Inc, had used 1MDB funds to produce the US$100 million "Wolf of Wall Street" movie starring Leonardo DiCaprio.

The US Department of Justice has said over US$4.5 billion was siphoned from the fund.

Najib has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing, but the existence and tone of the video, in which he appears humble but doesn't concede any guilt, indicates Najib knew he would shortly be arrested and had begun preparing for a legal and public opinion battle.

According to an investigation by the Wall Street Journal, $10.6 million originating from SRC International Sdn Bhd, an energy company that was originally a subsidiary of 1MDB, was transferred to Najib's personal bank accounts, a fraction of hundreds of millions of dollars from 1MDB that was allegedly funnelled to him.

Initially, Shafee requested the bail amount to be reduced to RM500,000 and explained the original amount would have forced Najib's family to resort to soliciting funds from relatives and friends in order to to raise that much money.

"This is the best opportunity for me to clear my name after being heavily accused", he told reporters at the Kuala Lumpur High Court on Wednesday (July 4).

Some members of Najib's UMNO party chanted and held up placards in support of their former leader.

Soon after his win, Malaysia's new prime minister reopened the 1MDB investigations and vowed that Mr Najib "would face the consequences" if he was found to have broken any laws.

Malaysian police say they have seized almost $275 million worth of jewelry, handbags, watches and cash from premises linked to Najib, while authorities have frozen more than 400 bank accounts as part of the 1MDB probe.

In a pre-recorded message posted on Twitter after his arrest, Najib said he was not ideal and "not all the accusations against me and my family are true".

"Let investigations be carried out".

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