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World

AFP
October 4, 2018
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Malaysia's former First Lady charged with money laundering

World

AFP
Thu, Oct, 18

KUALA LUMPUR: The luxury-loving wife of Malaysia´s former prime minister was Thursday charged with money laundering and tax evasion linked to a multi-billion-dollar scandal that helped bring down the country´s previous government.

Rosmah Mansor, the 66-year-old wife of former prime minister Najib Razak, pleaded not guilty to 17 charges that could see her spend the rest of her life in prison.

Reviled in Malaysia for her lavish overseas shopping sprees and fetish for Birkin handbags as well as dazzling jewellery, Rosmah was released on bail after spending the night in detention at the office of the country´s anti-corruption agency.

Her husband is also out on bail on more than two dozen charges linked to the alleged plunder of state funds during his nine years in power.

Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, 93, who came back from retirement to challenge Najib, has launched a crackdown against corruption in the previous government.

"There is no idea of revenge and anything like that... If you steal money, you will be charged in court," the official Bernama news agency quoted him as saying.

In the charge sheets, prosecutors accused Rosmah of having "engaged directly in a transaction that involves proceeds of unlawful activity" in violation of laws against money laundering.

A dozen charges involved deposits to a single bank account belonging to her from 2013-2017, totalling more than seven million ringgit. The remaining charges were for dodging taxes on the deposits.

Lead prosecutor Gopal Sri Ram told the court Rosmah´s alleged offences were "very serious".

He also said Rosmah "had approached a witness with a request to give a statement in her favour".

Rosmah was allowed to post bail of two million ringgit ($483,365) and ordered to surrender her passport. She was barred from contacting any witnesses.

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