KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia’s former prime minister Najib Razak has been found guilty of corruption over the misappropriation of state funds.
High Court Judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali declared Najib guilty of one count of abuse of power, three counts of criminal breach of trust, and three counts of money laundering on Tuesday.
“I find the accused guilty and convict him on all seven charges,” said the judge.
Each charge carries a prison sentence of 15 to 20 years.
Billions of dollars were stolen from the 1MDB state fund and spent on everything from high-end real estate to pricey art in the years leading to 2018.
Najib is facing several 1MDB-linked trials. The first, which began almost 16 months ago, centers on the transfer of 42 million ringgit (9.9 million dollars) from a former unit of the fund into his bank accounts.
Anger at the looting played a large part in the shock loss of Najib’s long-ruling coalition in elections in 2018, and he was arrested and hit with dozens of charges following his defeat.
Supporters of former prime minister Najib Razak gather outside the High Court, in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on July 28, 2020. (Photo by Reuters)
Najib, free on bail, has consistently denied wrongdoing and says the charges against him are politically-motivated.
“This is my chance to clear my name,” he said in a Facebook post on Monday night. “Whatever the decision tomorrow at the High Court, it does not end here,” he said, adding that both sides would appeal any decision at the federal court.
The former prime minster arrived at the court in Kuala Lumpur to shouts of “Long live Najib!” by hundreds of his supporters who had gathered outside the court.
Najib would still be allowed to keep his parliamentary seat in Pekan Harapan (PH), the former ruling coalition party, but he will not be able to contest in general elections while the guilty verdict stands.