Najib’s 1MDB graft trial resumes

KUALA LUMPUR (AFP) – Toppled Malaysian leader Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak returned to court for the second day of his high-profile corruption trial yesterday, with the former premier accused of plundering large sums from scandal-hit state fund 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB).

The 65-year-old finally went on trial this month over his alleged role in looting the investment vehicle, the first of several court cases he is expected to face over the controversy.

The ex-prime minister and his cronies are accused of stealing billions of dollars from 1MDB and spending it on everything from high-end real estate to artworks and a luxury yacht.

The allegations played a large part in prompting voters to oust his corruption-plagued coalition, which had been in power for six decades, at historic elections last year.

Since then, Najib has been arrested and hit with dozens of charges over the scandal.

Malaysia’s former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak. – AP

The ex-leader’s highly anticipated trial began on April 3, with Najib denying seven charges related to the theft of RM42 million (USD10.2 million) from SRC International, a former 1MDB unit.

It is just a fraction of the money Najib is accused of stealing – he has also been charged in a separate case over the alleged transfer of USD681 million to his bank account.

He arrived at the High Court in Kuala Lumpur yesterday for the second day of proceedings, wearing a dark suit and tie, and passed through a scrum of journalists before entering the courtroom and taking his seat in the dock. The main witness called yesterday was investigating officer from the Central Bank Azizul Adzani Abdul Ghafar, who was part of a team that raided the branch of a local lender, AmBank.

The officers seized documents related to accounts held by Najib at the bank, accounts belonging to SRC International, and accounts held by another company.

The stolen money from SRC was allegedly sent to Najib’s accounts at AmBank.