Malaysia ex-PM Najib’s 1MDB graft trial resumes

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KUALA LUMPUR, April 15, 2019 (BSS/AFP) – Toppled Malaysian leader Najib
Razak returned to court for the second day of his high-profile corruption
trial Monday, with the former premier accused of plundering large sums from a
unit of sovereign wealth fund 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.

The ex-leader’s highly-anticipated trial began on April 3, with Najib
denying seven charges related to the theft of 42 million ringgit ($10.3
million) from SRC International, a former 1MDB unit.

It is just a fraction of the money Najib is alleged to have stolen.

He arrived at the High Court in Kuala Lumpur Monday 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.

Proceedings began with the defence team cross-examining Companies
Commission of Malaysia official Muhamad Akmaluddin Abdullah, who had
testified when the trial opened, on technical matters related to corporate
records. Opening the prosecution’s case earlier this month, Attorney-General
Tommy Thomas told the court that Najib was “not above the law” despite having
been premier for almost a decade.

Najib has consistently denied any wrongdoing over the looting of 1MDB.

The US Department of Justice, which is investigating the 1MDB controversy
as money was allegedly laundered through the American financial system,
believes $4.5 billion in total was looted from the fund.

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