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Malaysia Appeals Court Upholds Najib Razak’s 1MDB Conviction

Ex-PM plans final appeal to Federal Court after his conviction for illegally receiving about $10 million from SRC International is confirmed by the Appeals Court


Najib Razak
Najib Razak, whose term as prime minister ended with defeat at the 2018 elections, was found guilty of diverting an estimated 42 million ringgit ($9.88m) from SRC International, a division of 1MDB, into his personal bank accounts. Photo: AFP

 

A Malaysian appeals court on Wednesday upheld former prime minister Najib Razak’s conviction in a case linked to a corruption scandal at state fund 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB).

Najib was sentenced to 12 years in prison and fined $50 million last year by a high court after being found guilty of criminal breach of trust, abuse of power and money laundering.

He was convicted of illegally receiving about $10 million from SRC International, a former unit of now-defunct 1MDB.

He had pleaded not guilty and consistently denied any wrongdoing. But Judge Abdul Karim Abdul Jalil said he agreed with the high court judge on the conviction and sentencing over all seven charges against Najib.

“We dismiss the appeal on all seven charges and affirm the conviction on all seven charges,” the judge said.

Najib has been free on bail pending the appeal and his lawyer, Shafee Abdullah, told the court he would appeal against the verdict at the Federal Court, Malaysia’s top tribunal.

 

No Emotion During Judgement

The judge allowed Najib’s request for a stay on the sentence and Najib will be released on bail. Wearing a black suit, Najib showed no emotion as the judgement was read out and was seen taking notes occasionally during the hearing.

Najib and his lawyers joined the proceedings via Zoom after a member of his legal team tested positive for Covid-19.

The former prime minister remains influential within his party, the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO), which returned to power in August after being voted out three years earlier amid widespread corruption allegations.

Ismail Sabri Yaakob, Malaysia’s prime minister since August in an UMNO-led coalition, roiled politics by suggesting he might appoint Najib Razak as an economic adviser.

Najib told Reuters in September that he has not ruled out seeking re-election to parliament, a move that would require his conviction to be overturned.

 

  • Reuters with editing by George Russell

 

 

 

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George Russell

George Russell is a freelance writer and editor based in Hong Kong who has lived in Asia since 1996. His work has been published in the Financial Times, The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, New York Post, Variety, Forbes and the South China Morning Post.

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