Najib pleads not guilty to money laundering charges

  • Najib pleads not guilty to money laundering charges

Najib pleads not guilty to money laundering charges

The former prime minister of Malaysia has denied three new charges of money laundering related to the alleged multibillion-dollar looting of a state investment fund.

The charges - which Najib denies - relate to three transfers totalling 42m ringgit (US$10m) into his bank accounts from SRC International, a former unit of the 1MDB fund that U.S. investigators say was looted of billions by Najib's associates.

The charges under Section 4 (1) of the Anti-Money-Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act 2002 (AMLATFPUAA) were initially read out to Najib at the Sessions Court before judge Azura Alwi earlier this morning. This morning Razak reached the courthouse accompanied by his children, he looked calm.

Najib and his wife Rosmah Mansor led a life of luxury, allegedly funded by stolen public money, that came to symbolise the rot in an elite that had ruled the country uninterrupted since Malaysia's independence from Britain in 1957.

Najib spoke softly as he entered his plea in the High Court. "So it's got nothing to do with 1MDB.", Najib's lawyer Muhammad Shafee Abdullah told reporters outside the court.

Tan Sri Irwan was removed from his post and that of 1MDB chairman after Najib was ousted. Asked if he understood them, Mr Najib said: "I understand".

The High Court has yet to fix trial dates for the three criminal cases of CBT, power abuse, and money-laundering that will be heard together.

Umno Supreme Council member Lokman Noor Adam and actress Ellie Suriaty Omar seen among Najib Razak’s supporters outside the court complex
Umno Supreme Council member Lokman Noor Adam and actress Ellie Suriaty Omar seen among Najib Razak’s supporters outside the court complex

The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) made the announcement on Tuesday hours after inviting Najib for another round of questioning.

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's stepson Riza Aziz, an aspiring film producer, is also alleged to have used millions from the fund.

Najib had founded 1MDB and headed its advisory board.

The then attorney general - who had ties to Najib's party - cleared the leader of wrongdoing, and said that the money had been a donation from the Saudi royal family.

The US Justice Department, which is seeking to recover items allegedly bought with stolen 1MDB cash in America, estimates that United States dollars 4.5 billion in total was looted from 1MDB.