Rosmah Mansor, the wife of Malaysia’s former Prime Minister Najib Razak, was charged with money laundering on Thursday, AFP reported. She was arrested by the anti-corruption agency on Wednesday in connection with a multi-billion-dollar scandal. She pleaded not guilty to 17 charges of money laundering.
Mansor was allowed to post bail of 2 million ringgit (about Rs 3.5 crore) though prosecutors had sought 10 million ringgit (about Rs 17.6 crore). The Malaysian court where she was produced also asked her to surrender her passport and to not contact any witnesses.
The former Malaysian first lady was well-known for her love of designer handbags, jewellery and extravagant spending. She is being investigated under section 4(1) of the Anti-Money Laundering and Anti-Terrorism Financing Act 2001 for receiving and transferring funds obtained from money-laundering activities, an unidentified official told The Straits Times.
In June, the Malaysian Police seized jewellery, handbags, watches and other luxury items worth nearly 1.1 billion ringgit (approximately Rs 1,800 crore) from several apartments linked to Razak. Twenty-two officials used six machines over three days to count the cash seized in what was the country’s biggest-ever seizure. The total cash seized was around 116.7 million ringgit (approximately Rs 198 crore).
In July, Razak pleaded not guilty after a court in Kuala Lumpur charged him with three counts of criminal breach of trust and one count of corruption. He was arrested on September 19 for corruption-related offences in connection with the scandal.
In 2015, Razak resisted demands to step down despite reports of financial mismanagement at the government-owned company 1Malaysia Development Berhad, and allegations that he received $681 million (Rs 4,425 crore) in his personal bank account. After he lost the elections to his former mentor Mahathir Mohamad, Razak was barred from leaving the country and the case was reopened.