Written by on August 23, 2022

A court in Malaysia has sentenced former Premier Najib Razak to 12 years in jail after finding him guilty on all seven counts in the first of several multi-million dollar corruption trials.

Najib had pleaded not guilty to the charges of criminal breach of trust, money laundering and abuse of power.

The case against him, many believe is a major test of Malaysia’s anti-corruption efforts.

The 1MDB scandal around a state-owned wealth fund in Malaysia has uncovered a global web of fraud and corruption.

The case centers around the 1 Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), a sovereign wealth fund set up in 2009, when Najib Razak was prime minister.

Sovereign wealth funds are government-owned investment funds that are used to boost a country’s economic development. Built with state earnings, such as revenues from oil resources and exports, they have extraordinary flows of cash to invest and potentially enormous international clout.

In 2015, questions were raised around 1MBD’s activities after it missed payments owed to banks and bondholders.

Najib denies all wrongdoing and says he was misled by financial advisers, especially Jho Low, a financier who has now been adjudged a fugitive.

Jho Low has been charged in both the United States and Malaysia but continues to maintain his innocence.

The verdict sends shockwaves through Malaysia’s political establishment, leading to the toppling of Najib’s UMNO party, which had been in government since the Asian country gained independence.

Najib was sentenced to 12 years in prison for abuse of power, and 10 years in jail for each of six counts of money laundering and breach of trust. The sentences shall run concurrently and will be suspended pending appeal.

Judge Mohamad Nazlan Ghazali told a High Court in Kuala Lumpur, the Malaysian capital.

After considering all evidence in this trial, I find that the prosecution has successfully proven its case beyond a reasonable doubt.

Najib who told reporters he wasn’t in any way satisfied with the court judgment said:

This is definitely not the end of the world, because there’s a process of appeal, and we hope that we would be successful then.

The former prime minister was cleared of all allegations by Malaysian authorities while he was yet in office. But many believe the accusations played a big part in his election defeat in 2018

The new government quickly reopened investigations into the 1MDB case and seems to have made much progress with this verdict.

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