An appeals court in Malaysia on Wednesday upheld the conviction of former Prime Minister Najib Razak in the multi-billion-dollar 1Malaysia Development Berhad corruption case, Reuters reported.

In July 2020, a court had found him guilty in the case and had sentenced him to 12 years in prison. The allegations pertain to the transfer of 42 million ringgit (approximately Rs 73.34 crore) from SRC International, a former unit of the now-insolvent company 1MDB into Najib’s bank accounts.

On Wednesday, Court of Appeal Judge Abdul Karim Abdul Jalil rejected the former prime minister’s claim that his actions were in the national interest. “There is no national interest here, just a national embarrassment,” the judge remarked.

The court held that Najib knew, or had a reason to believe that certain funds in his accounts were related to illegal activities. The court also observed that the former prime minister had failed to take steps to determine whether the funds were proceeds of illicit activities.

Najib had been on bail during while his appeal was being heard by the court. On Wednesday, the appeals court allowed Najib to remain free till his plea is decided upon by the Federal Court, Malaysia’s highest judiciary body.

The former prime minister said he was disappointed with the verdict and that he will file an appeal at the Federal Court. “I did not know and I did not ask and I did not order anyone to move the 42 million ringgit to my account,” he said, according to Reuters.

The case

In June 2018, the Malaysian Police had seized jewellery, handbags, watches and other luxury items worth nearly 1.1 billion ringgit (approximately Rs 1,800 crore) from several apartments linked to Najib. The total cash seized was around 116.7 million ringgit (approximately Rs 198 crore).

In July 2020, Najib was found guilty of seven charges in all – one of abuse of power, three charges of criminal breach of trust and three money laundering charges.