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Malaysian Court Upholds Ex-Prime Minister’s Conviction

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The Federal Court in Malaysia has upheld former Prime Minister Najib Razak graft conviction and 12-year sentence by the High Court.

Mr. Najib has been sent to jail to begin serving a 12-year sentence after the top court rejected his appeal.

Report says Mr. Najib charges relate to a corruption scandal involving state-owned wealth fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad, 1MDB.

He was convicted in July 2020 but had been out on bail during the appeal.

The court also denied Najib’s request to delay his sentence. He has continued to deny any wrongdoing.

Charges
In 2020, the High Court found him guilty on seven counts centred on a total of 42m ringgit ($9.4m; £8m) which was transferred from SRC International a former unit of 1MDB into his private accounts.

He was sentenced to 12 years in jail and a fine of 210m ringgit ($46.8m; £39.7m).

Meanwhile, the defence team had argued Najib was led to believe the funds in his accounts were donated by the Saudi royal family rather than misappropriated from the state fund.

They also claimed he was misled by financial advisers, particularly fugitive financier Jho Low who has been charged in both the US and Malaysia but also maintains his innocence.

However, in his final push for freedom Najib’s lawyer requested the removal of Chief Justice Tengku Mat from the panel presiding over the case in what was seen as a bid to forestall a final verdict.

They claimed she could be biased as her husband had made a Facebook post in 2018 which was critical of Najib.

The chief justice declined the request as she said the post was before the charges were brought against Najib.

Verdict
In her verdict, the chief justice said the five-judge panel unanimously found that the conviction of Najib on all seven counts was safe and the appeal “devoid of any merits.”

“The defence is so inherently inconsistent and incredible that it has not raised reasonable doubt on the case,” she said.

The charges addressed make up only the first of five trials relating to 1MDB.

Report says Najib’s wife, Rosmah Mansor, faces separate money laundering and tax evasion charges related to a solar hybrid project to which she has pleaded not guilty. The High Court is scheduled to deliver her verdict in September.

 

BBC/CO

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