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Ex-Malaysia PM Najib Razak appears in court for biggest 1MDB corruption trial
[KUALA LUMPUR] Malaysia's former leader Najib Razak appeared in court on Wednesday to stand trial to 25 money-laundering and corruption charges linked to 1MDB, his biggest case related to the troubled state fund.
The charges revolve around 1MDB's multibillion-dollar bond sales and acquisitions. That includes accusations he received RM2.08 billion (S$686.5 million) of bribes related to a letter of government support for US$3 billion of 1MDB bonds in 2013, as well as allegations he accepted RM49.9 million linked to a US$975 million loan facility from Deutsche Bank AG. He has pleaded not guilty to all the charges.
The start to the proceeding was postponed many times as it clashed with Najib's first 1MDB trial, which involved local transactions by the state fund's former unit. The delays point to the massive task Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad has ahead of him in getting to the bottom of the 1MDB scandal. Since wresting power from Najib last year, the prime minister has prioritized investigations into the scandal, as well as recouping funds believed to be lost through the scandal-ridden fund.
Goldman Sachs Group's lawyer is also present in court to hold a watching brief. Malaysia has charged three of the bank's units as well as 17 of its current and former directors over US$6.5 billion of bond in bonds the bank arranged for 1MDB in 2012 and 2013.
Here are a few of the charges Najib faces today:
• He allegedly received RM90.9 million linked to 1MDB deals, including:Joint venture with PetroSaudi International Ltd costing us$1 billion and subsequent RM1 billion investment in the JV's RM10.6 billion bid for Tanjong Energy Holdings Sdn RM2.75 billion purchase of Syarikat Mastika Lagenda Sdn. shares
• He allegedly received RM60.6 million gratification for approving a state guarantee on RM5 billion of Islamic notes sold by Terengganu Investment Authority Bhd, the precursor to 1MDB
• He allegedly received funds from illegal activities involving a total of RM2.08 billion from Tanore Finance Corp's account at Falcon Private Bank in Singapore
• He's accused of money laundering in relation to a total of 2.2 billion ringgit of fund transfers to Tanore's account at Falcon
• He allegedly used funds from illegal activities involving RM20 million paid to United Malays National Organisation, the largest opposition party, as well as RM100,000 to UMNO's Batu Kawan division
• He allegedly spent illicit funds, including RM303,000 sent to Semarak Konsortium Satu Sdn, RM2 million to ORB Solutions Sdn, and RM246,000 sent to Lim Soon Peng.