1MDB corruption trial of ex-Malaysian PM postponed, says lawyer

Elias Hubbard
February 12, 2019

Former prime minister Najib Razak's trial over the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) scandal was postponed yesterday to allow an appeal to be heard.

Billions of dollars were allegedly stolen by Najib and his cronies from the fund, which was set up to help develop Malaysia's economy, and spent on everything from high-end real estate to expensive artworks.

But his lawyers have filed an application for the trial to be delayed pending an appeal on a technicality related to the transfer of charges between different courts.

He hoped the appeal would only take a week or two.

The trial was originally set to begin on Tuesday.

"It's just a hiccup", he said.

Najib has pleaded not guilty to 42 charges of criminal breach of trust, graft, abuse of power and money laundering linked to the multibillion-dollar looting of the 1MDB state investment fund that has battered the country's standing overseas.

Najib is due to go on trial Tuesday for the first time over allegations that he was involved in the looting of Malaysian sovereign wealth fund 1MDB in a fraud that stretched around the world.

Police found almost $300 million worth of goods and cash at properties linked to Najib soon after the election.

One of only a few Southeast Asian leaders to be arraigned after losing office, Najib has denied any wrongdoing.

In recent weeks, he has undergone a public makeover, appearing in a music video portraying himself as a champion of the working class and throwing jibes at the ruling government on social media in a bid to shed the image of a wealthy, elite politician.

US investigators say more than $4.5 billion was stolen from 1MDB by associates of Najib between 2009 and 2014 and the ill-gotten gains were laundered through layers of bank accounts in the USA and other countries to finance Hollywood films and buy hotels, a luxury yacht, art works, jewelry and other extravagances.

USA prosecutors say money stolen from 1MDB was used to buy a private jet, luxury real estate, artwork by Picasso and Monet, as well as jewellery for Rosmah.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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