Former Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak and ex-treasury chief Irwan Serigar Abdullah were charged on Thursday with criminal breach of trust involving 6.64 billion ringgit (more than Rs 11,500 crore) of governmental funds, Reuters reported. The two have pleaded not guilty to all the charges.
Razak and Abdullah both face jail terms of up to 20 years and a financial penalty if they are found guilty. According to the chargesheet, part of the money involved a subsidy for the poor and an airport management budget, AP reported. However, Razak’s lawyer said the charges were “foolish”. The lawyer, Shafee Abdullah, said Razak and his treasury chief had reallocated the funds to meet payment datelines for 1MDB, two pipeline gas projects and a China-backed rail link.
Meanwhile, the former chief of Malaysian intelligence agency Hasanah Abdul Hami, who has been charged of misappropriating $12.1 million (more than Rs 88 crore), pleaded not guilty, AP reported.
Razak is already facing 32 charges of money laundering, graft and breach of trust over transactions linked to state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad. His wife Rosmah Mansor is also charged with money laundering in the case.
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, when he was prime minister, Razak resisted demands to step down despite reports of financial mismanagement at 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 in May 2018, Razak was barred from leaving the country and the case was reopened.