Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 July 2019

Malaysia ex-PM Najib Razak's 1MDB graft trial resumes

He finally went on trial this month over his alleged role in looting the sovereign wealth fund

Malaysia's former prime minister Najib Razak arrives at the Kuala Lumpur High Court for his trial over 1MDB corruption allegations in Kuala Lumpur on April 15, 2019. AFP
Malaysia's former prime minister Najib Razak arrives at the Kuala Lumpur High Court for his trial over 1MDB corruption allegations in Kuala Lumpur on April 15, 2019. AFP

Toppled Malaysian leader Najib Razak returned to court for the second day of his high-profile corruption trial on Monday, with the former premier accused of taking large sums from a unit of the country's sovereign wealth fund 1MDB.

He finally went on trial this month over his alleged role in looting the investment vehicle, the first of several court cases Mr Razak, 65, is expected to face over the controversy.

The ex-prime minister and his cronies are accused of stealing billions of dollars from 1MDB and spending it on everything from high-end real estate to artworks and a luxury yacht.

The allegations played a large part in prompting voters to oust his corruption-plagued coalition, which had been in power for six decades, at historic elections last year. Since then, Mr Najib has been arrested and hit with dozens of charges over the scandal.

The ex-leader's highly-anticipated trial began on April 3, with Mr Razak denying seven charges related to the theft of 42 million ringgit (Dh37.49m) from SRC International, a former 1MDB unit.

It is just a fraction of the money Mr Razak is alleged to have stolen.

He arrived at the High Court in Kuala Lumpur Monday for the second day of proceedings, wearing a dark suit and tie, and passed through a scrum of journalists before entering the courtroom and taking his seat in the dock.

Proceedings began with the defence team cross-examining Companies Commission of Malaysia official Muhamad Abdullah, who had testified when the trial opened, on technical matters related to corporate records.

Opening the prosecution's case earlier this month, Attorney-General Tommy Thomas told the court that Mr Razak was "not above the law" despite having been premier for almost a decade.

Mr Razak has consistently denied any wrongdoing over the looting of 1MDB.

The US Department of Justice, which is investigating the 1MDB controversy as money was allegedly laundered through the American financial system, believes $4.5 billion in total was looted from the fund.

Updated: April 15, 2019 09:24 AM

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