Former Malaysian PM Najib slapped with money-laundering charges
Former Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak on Wednesday was charged with three offenses related to money-laundering and anti-terrorism financing, in addition to several counts of criminal breach of trust and corruption charges that were served in early July.
The former leader appeared at the Kuala Lumpur Courts complex about 9am local time for a pre-trial case-management hearing.
Malaysia's anti-corruption commission said earlier all the charges are related to a 42 million ringgit (US$10.3 million) deposit into Najib's personal bank account by SRC International, a former unit of state fund 1MDB.
After the prosecution team read the charges, the judge decided that Najib's case would be transferred to the high court.
All the charges relate to the scandal surrounding sovereign wealth fund 1MDB, which was set up and overseen by Najib.
The former leader, his family and cronies are accused of embezzling huge sums that were used to buy everything from artwork to high-end real estate in a sophisticated fraud that spanned the globe.
The graft allegations were a major factor in the defeat of Najib's long-ruling coalition by a reformist alliance headed by political heavyweight Mahathir Mohamad, 93.
After questioning Najib Tuesday for 45 minutes, the anti-graft agency said he would be charged under the anti-money laundering law in relation to SRC International, an energy company that used to be a subsidiary of 1MDB.
He is to face three new charges, the official news agency Bernama reported.
According to an investigation by the Wall Street Journal, about US$10 million originating from SRC was transferred to Najib's personal bank accounts.
Najib has so far pleaded not guilty to all charges against him.
Shortly after his downfall, a treasure trove of valuables was seized in raids on properties linked to Najib and his family – including cash, jewellery and luxury handbags – worth up to US$273 million.