Malaysia's top court sends Najib to jail as ex-PM loses final appeal

The court upheld Najib Razak's conviction for illegally receiving about $10 million from SRC International, a former unit of the country's state fund

Reuters
Published : 23 August 2022, 10:31 AM
Updated : 23 August 2022, 10:31 AM

Malaysia's top court ordered former prime minister Najib Razak to begin a 12-year prison sentence on Tuesday after upholding a guilty conviction on charges related to a multi-billion dollar graft scandal at state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).

Knocking back Najib's final appeal, the country's top court also denied his request for a stay of sentence.

Najib, 69, was found guilty by a lower court in July 2020 of criminal breach of trust, abuse of power, and money laundering for illegally receiving about $10 million from SRC International, a former unit of 1MDB. He had been out on bail and pending appeals.

The former premier, who pleaded not guilty, was sentenced to 12 years' jail and a 210 million ringgit ($46.84 million) fine.

Chief Justice Tengku Maimun Tuan Mat said the court unanimously dismissed Najib's appeals and that lower courts' conviction was safe.

"The defence is so inherently inconsistent and incredible that it has not raised reasonable doubt on the case... We also find that the sentence imposed is not manifestly excessive," she said.

Najib was seated in the dock as the verdict was read out. His wife, Rosmah Mansor, and three children were seated behind him.

The court had earlier rejected a last gasp effort by Najib to forestall the final verdict by requesting the removal of the chief justice from the panel.

Addressing the court moments before the final verdict was delivered, Najib said he was the victim of an injustice, while requesting for another two months for his new lawyers to prepare for his appeal.

"It's the worst feeling to have to realise that the might of the judiciary is pinned against me in the most unfair manner," Najib told the court.

Prosecutors have said some $4.5 billion was stolen from 1MDB - co-founded by Najib during his first year as prime minister in 2009. Investigators say they had traced more than $1 billion of 1MDB money to accounts linked to Najib.

The wide-ranging scandal has implicated officials and financial institutions around the world, and prompted the US Department of Justice to open what became its biggest kleptocracy investigation.

Najib, who faces several trials over the allegations, has consistently denied wrongdoing.

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