NAJIB RETURNS TO COURT
Having been sent to jail on Tuesday after losing the appeal in one of the smaller cases related to the siphoning off of money from the state fund he co-founded in 2009, Najib was back in court on Thursday for a hearing in the largest case.
He was brought from the Kajang prison complex to the Kuala Lumpur High Court in a black police car under heavy security and was taken to the courtroom through a private entrance.
At the end of the day’s hearing, Najib – in a dark suit and tie – waved to reporters from the police car on his way back to Kajang. He did not comment, but an aide to the former premier said he was “doing OK”.
In a social media post, Najib’s daughter Nooryana Najwa said he had been provided with basic necessities in prison, and “was getting used to his new routine”.
On Friday, he returned to court in a black SUV escorted by several police and Prisons Department vehicles, said the Bernama news agency. His wife, Rosmah Mansor, was also present at the court complex.
The charges laid against Najib in this case include 21 counts of money laundering and four counts of abuse of power for allegedly receiving illegal transfers of at least RM2.3 billion between 2011 and 2014.
Najib also faces three other cases, and they all carry jail terms and heavy financial penalties.
Malaysian and US investigators say US$4.5 billion was stolen from 1MDB, in a scandal that has implicated financial institutions and high-ranking officials worldwide. More than US$1 billion was traced to Najib’s bank accounts.
He also faces bankruptcy, which cannot be pardoned and which would prevent him from running for elections. Najib has denied any wrongdoing, and has painted himself as the victim of a political vendetta by his former mentor.
Mahathir was already Malaysia’s longest-serving prime minister when he first retired in 2003 after 22 years at the helm. He campaigned for Najib and UMNO during the 2013 election but turned against his protege as the scale of corruption at 1MDB began to emerge.
Leading an opposition alliance of unlikely bedfellows, the nonagenarian Mahathir defeated the UMNO-led coalition, removing it from power for the first time since the formation of Malaysia six decades earlier.
Reinstalled as prime minister, Mahathir reopened probes into 1MDB that led to Najib facing a total of 42 charges. Mahathir subsequently resigned amid political turmoil as his alliance fell apart.