PUTRAJAYA, Malaysia: Former Malaysian leader Najib Razak lost his appeal against a corruption conviction and 12-year jail term on Wednesday, with the judge branding his actions a 'national...
PUTRAJAYA, Malaysia: Former Malaysian leader Najib Razak lost his appeal against a corruption conviction and 12-year jail term on Wednesday, with the judge branding his actions a "national embarrassment" but allowing him to remain free.
The 68-year-old was found guilty on all counts last year in the first of several trials he is facing related to the looting of the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) sovereign wealth fund. Najib and his cronies were accused of stealing billions of dollars from the investment vehicle, with the allegations contributing to his long-ruling coalition’s ejection from power in 2018.
The former prime minister’s first trial was related to the transfer of 42 million ringgit ($9.9 million) from a former 1MDB unit to his bank accounts. Najib -- who has remained free on bail -- denies wrongdoing, but the Court of Appeal upheld his conviction on charges including money-laundering and abuse of power.
Judge Abdul Karim Abdul Jalil rejected the defence’s argument that some of Najib’s actions were in the national interest. "There is no national interest here, only national embarrassment," he told the court in the administrative capital Putrajaya.
Najib had "dishonestly misappropriated" the money, he added. Judge Karim also rejected Najib’s defence that he believed the cash was a donation from Saudi royalty, saying there was "no evidence" for the claim. But he agreed to a request for Najib to stay out of prison on bail while he lodges a final appeal with Malaysia’s top court.