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Malaysia in transition

Najib charged with four criminal offenses in 1MDB case

Malaysia's previous prime minister pleads not guilty

najib court
Former Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak arrives in court in Kuala Lumpur on July 4.   © Reuters

KUALA LUMPUR -- Prosecutors charged former Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak with four charges on Wednesday in connection with the alleged embezzlement of state funds for his personal use. 

He pleaded non guilty to all charges and was granted a bail with a bond of 1 million ringgit ($248,000).

Najib was accused of three criminal breach of trust as a public servant under Section 409 of the Penal Code. This crime is punishable with a jail term of two to 20 years and liable to a fine. He also faced one charge for abuse of power under the anti-corruption act, which carries imprisonment of less than 20 years and a fine of no less than five times the amount misappropriated.

Najib, who spent last night in the custody of the national anti-graft agency, was brought to the high court in Kuala Lumpur under heavy security. He wore a Western suit with a tie and flashed a smile at supporters and media personnel waiting for his arrival.

According to the court's charge sheet, the offences took place between 2014 and 2015 when Najib, in his capacity as the prime minister and finance minister allegedly transferred 42 million ringgit in total from a company called SRC International to his private bank account.

SRC, a unit of state fund 1Malaysia Development Bhd, is an acronym for Strategic Resource Co., an entity set up in 2010 to invest in the energy sector, particularly coal supply development.

The former leader was also accused for abusing of power by pocketing 42 million ringgit linked to a state loan of 4 billion ringgit given to SRC International between 2011 and 2012.

Newly appointed Attorney General Tommy Thomas led the prosecution team of 12 lawyers while Najib was defended by seven lawyers including Muhammad Shafee Abdullah, a well-known criminal counsel. 

Soon after his arrest on Tuesday afternoon, Najib released a recorded video clip on social media, denying the accusations against him. "I am not perfect, like any other human," he said in the two-minute video. "But what have been hurled against me and my family are not true."

Ying Xian Wong contributed to this article.

 

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