Monday, October 15, 2018 | ePaper

Najib pleads not guilty to money laundering as charges pile up

  • Print


Malaysia's former prime minister Najib Razak arrives in court in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on Wednesday.

Reuters, Kuala Lumpur :
Malaysia's former Prime Minister Najib Razak pleaded not guilty to money laundering charges slapped on him on Wednesday, as the country's new government looked for answers to how billions of dollars went missing from a state fund 1MDB during his term.
Najib and his wife, Rosmah Mansor, were barred from leaving Malaysia after his decade in power ended in a shock election defeat in May, and the new prime minister, Mahathir Mohamad, relaunched an investigation into 1Malaysia Development Berhad.
Dressed in a grey suit, Najib appeared calm as three charges of money laundering were read out at the Kuala Lumpur high court. He pleaded not guilty, and was granted bail.
Najib has also pleaded not guilty to three charges for criminal breach of trust and one charge for abuse of power that were leveled against him last month.
The money laundering charges relate to electronic transfers amounting to 42 million ringgit ($10 million) from SRC International, a former 1MDB unit, into Najib's personal bank account.
The offense carries a penalty of up to 15 years in jail and a fine of not less than 5 times the value of the proceeds of any illegal transfers, or five million ringgit, whichever is higher.
Najib was accompanied by his children as he arrived at the courthouse in a four-car motorcade. He left after the proceedings without speaking to the media.
"SRC, at the time of the so-called happening, was no longer a part of 1MDB. So it's got nothing to do with 1MDB...," Najib's lawyer Muhammad Shafee Abdullah told reporters outside the court.
SRC, created in 2011 by Najib's government to pursue overseas investment in energy resources, was a unit of 1MDB until it was moved to the finance ministry in 2012.
When asked if he thinks the case was a witch hunt, Shafee said: "My client and I hope that's not the case".
High Court Judge Mohamad Nazlan Mohd Ghazali said a decision on when the trial begins, and on a gag order issued last month to stop public discussion of the case, would be made on Friday.
The scandal at 1MDB fully erupted in 2015 after media reports that hundreds of millions of dollars from 1MDB were diverted to his personal accounts.
Najib has consistently denied any wrongdoing, maintaining that those funds were donations from a Saudi royal, and that the bulk of them had been given back.
Reopening the investigations into 1MDB after Najib lost power, Malaysian anti-graft officers have revealed how their earlier investigations were obstructed by Najib's government.

More News For this Category

Saudi Arabia warns against any sanctions over missing Khashoggi case

Saudi Arabia warns against any sanctions over missing Khashoggi case

Reuters, Washington :Saudi Arabia on Sunday warned against threats to punish it over last week's disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, as European leaders piled on pressure and two more US

Trump says he is ‘comfortable’ as President despite political battles

Trump says he is ‘comfortable’ as President despite political battles

Reuters, Washington :President Donald Trump said in an interview broadcast on Sunday that he was "comfortable" in the White House after almost two years in office, despite political storms over

Prince Harry and wife Meghan expecting a baby

Prince Harry and wife Meghan expecting a baby

AFP, London :Prince Harry and his wife Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, are expecting a baby in the spring of 2019, they announced on Monday as they began a Pacific

May under mounting pressure to rethink Brexit plan

May under mounting pressure to rethink Brexit plan

Reuters, Belfast :British Prime Minister Theresa May was under mounting pressure on Monday to rethink her plan for leaving the European Union after Brexit talks reached a stand-off at the

Imran Khan's party loses seats vacated by him in by-poll

Imran Khan's party loses seats vacated by him in by-poll

PTI, Islamabad :Pakistan's deposed premier Nawaz Sharif's PML-N recovered some ground in the by-elections by eating up the votes of prime minister Imran Khan's PTI, winning four out of 11

News in brief

Amnesty researcher abducted, beaten in RussiaAP, Moscow Rights group Amnesty International says its researcher in Russia's North Caucasus has been abducted and beaten while reporting on protests in the region.

Trump explains `eligibility` for those who want to come to US

Trump explains `eligibility` for those who want to come to US

PTI, Washington :US President Donald Trump has said that he wants people with merit, who can help, to enter the country and not sneak inside the border illegally."I'm very tough

No jihadists seen exiting Syria buffer on eve of deadline

No jihadists seen exiting Syria buffer on eve of deadline

AFP, Beirut  :Hardline fighters have yet to begin withdrawing from a planned buffer zone in northwestern Syria, a monitor and an AFP correspondent said Sunday on the eve of the

Trump thanks Turkey for pastor's release, denies cutting deal

Trump thanks Turkey for pastor's release, denies cutting deal

Reuters, Washington :President Donald Trump said on Saturday the release of U.S. pastor Andrew Brunson after two years in Turkish custody was a "tremendous step" toward improved relations with Turkey,

US wants ‘regime change’ in Iran: Rouhani

US wants ‘regime change’ in Iran: Rouhani

Reuters, Tehran :The United States is seeking "regime change" in Iran, President Hassan Rouhani said on Sunday, adding that the current US administration is the most hostile that the Islamic