Malaysia’s former Prime Minister Najib Razak has been sent to prison to begin serving a 12-year sentence after the High Court rejected his appeal.
Charges against the 69-year-old surround a corruption investigation involving the state-owned wealth fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).
In July 2020, the Kuala Lumpur High Court sentenced Najib to a total of 12 years in jail and a total fine of RM 210 million after he was found guilty of seven charges of criminal breach of trust, money laundering, and abuse of position.
Some RM 42 million (USD 9.4 million) had been transferred from SRC International – a former unit of 1MDB – into Najib’s personal bank account.
The High Court has also denied Najib’s request to delay his sentence, although he continues to deny any wrongdoing.
The former PM’s defense team claimed he was misled by financial advisors, including fugitive financier Jho Low, who has been charged in both the US and Malaysia.
Najib’s wife, Rosmah Mansor, has also been accused of money laundering and tax evasion and has pled not guilty.
The 1Malaysia Development Berhad scandal has been described as one of the largest such money laundering conspiracies in history, leading to criminal investigations in several countries.
The 1MDB company, wholly owned by the country’s finance ministry, was established to develop Malaysia through investments in energy, real estate, tourism, and agriculture.
But funds were systematically used to fund lavish lifestyles in the United States for those involved, while large amounts were found to have been transferred to the personal bank account of former Prime Minister Najib Razak.