4 July 2018Hot off the Press
Former Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak has been charged with corruption over his role in the 1MDB state development fund scandal.
Following his unprecedented election loss in May, a new investigation into Mr Najib commenced.
The former Prime Minister has long been accused of pocketing $700 million from 1MDB.
Mr Najib was arrested by anti-corruption authorities on Tuesday and detained overnight.
He faces a maximum of 20 years imprisonment if found guilty.
1MDB, set up by Mr Najib in 2009, was intended to turn the country’s capital city of Kuala Lumpur into a financial hub while boosting the economy through strategic investments.
However, in early 2015 the fund started attracting negative attention after it missed repayments on the $11 billion it owed to creditors.
The Wall Street Journal reported that it had seen a paper trail purporting to trace $700 million from the fund to Mr Najib’s personal bank accounts, while billions of dollars remain unaccounted for.
Mr Najib has consistently denied the charges, and posted a video to Twitter on Monday in which he said: “I have not had a chance to defend myself.”
The new Prime Minister, Mahathir Mohamad, pledged to reopen the investigation, and Mr Najib was banned from leaving Malaysia.
Police have raided properties linked to Mr Najib in recent weeks and recovered $273 million in luxury goods and cash, which Mr Najib insists are gifts or legitimate purchases.
Mr Najib is also being investigated by several other countries.