Malaysia on Wednesday filed new charges of money laundering against former prime minister Najib Razak, AFP reported. As the charges were read out in a packed courtroom in Kuala Lumpur, Razak responded: “I understand”. If found guilty, he may be sentenced to a maximum 15 years in jail for each charge.
Razak has already refuted three counts of money laundering for allegedly collecting $10.3 million (Rs 71 crore) as part of a multi-billion-dollar financial scandal, The Telegraph reported. He faces up to 20 years in jail for each of those charges.
In 2015, the former prime minister resisted demands to step down despite reports of financial mismanagement at the government-owned company 1Malaysia Development Berhad, and allegations that he had received $681 million (Rs 4,425 crore) in his personal bank account. Razak was barred from leaving the country and the case was reopened after he lost the elections to his former mentor Mahathir Mohamad on May 9.
The United States Justice Department, one of several foreign agencies investigating how money stolen and laundered from the 1MDB fund, collaborated with Indonesian authorities to seize a yacht worth millions off the Indoensian resort island of Bali and returned it to Malaysia on Tuesday.
Set up in 2009, the fund’s stated aim was to transform the capital of Kuala Lumpur into a financial hub and boost the economy through strategic investments.