Najib pleads not guilty to 25 new 1MDB-linked charges, bail set at S$1.2m

Former Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak (centre) arrives at the High Court in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on Sept 20, 2018.
Former Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak (centre) arrives at the High Court in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on Sept 20, 2018.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

KUALA LUMPUR - Malaysia’s former prime minister Najib Razak pleaded not guilty on Thursday (Sept 20) to 21 counts of money laundering and four counts of abuse of power, the highest number of charges levelled against him so far.

He was slapped with the new charges at the Kuala Lumpur Sessions Court in connection with the US$681 million (S$933 million) that went into his personal account. The money is believed to be from state-owned 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), which had debts of over RM50 billion (S$16.5 billion) at its peak.

In 2015, the Wall Street Journal reported that US$681 million was transferred to Najib's personal bank account. Najib has denied any wrongdoing, saying the funds were a donation from the Saudi royal family and not from 1MDB as claimed.

The 21 counts of money laundering “include nine counts for receiving illegal monies, five counts for using illegal monies and seven counts for transferring illegal monies to other entities”, deputy police chief Noor Rashid Ibrahim said in a statement earlier.

Bail has been set at RM3.5 million (S$1.2 million) and must be settled in full by next Friday (Sept 28). The first tranche of RM1 million is due on Friday (Sept 21) , with RM500,000 to be posted everyday from next Monday to Friday. 

The charges mean Najib could face up to 15 years in jail and a fine of not less than five times the value of the proceeds of unlawful activities, or RM5 million, whichever is higher.

For the four counts of abuse of power, he could face a jail term not exceeding 20 years and a fine of not less than five times the value of the gratification in the offence, or RM10,000, whichever is higher.

With the charges on Thursday, the former premier now faces a total of 32 charges.

He had appeared in court in July and August, when he received seven charges for criminal breach of trust, bribery and money laundering. He also pleaded not guilty to those charges.

Najib, 65, was charged under the Anti-Money Laundering and Anti-Terrorism Financing Act and the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Act.

Shafee Abdullah, who was charged last month with money laundering linked to a payment he received from Najib, remains the lead defence counsel.

The prosecution is led by famed retired judge Gopal Sri Ram, who was appointed by Attorney-General Tommy Thomas to assist in the criminal case against Najib.

 
 

After Pakatan Harapan’s shocking win in the general election on May 9, the authorities began investigating, conducting home searches and bringing charges against Najib in relation to 1MDB.

Najib's wife Rosmah Mansor has been reported by local media as the next likely person in the Razak family to be charged in court. Najib is the first former prime minister to be charged in Malaysia.

His children posted on social media on Wednesday calling for a fair trial.

Daddy, before I slept, I sent you this picture of me and Adam wishing you all the best for your MACC appointment at 3pm (Malaysian time). You didn’t read or reply my message and then at 5am, Ashman called to say that they have arrested and detained you, again. It pains me that I am on the other side of the world and not there with you..but you always insisted that giving up Harvard was always out of the question, no matter how difficult the circumstances. So as I sit in bed at 6am here in Boston, unable to go back back to sleep, thinking about your safety and how Mummy, Ashman and everyone else is coping back home, I came across a quote that I sent to you over the weekend (you got to read this one) and it’s already making me feel a little better... "It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat" Theodore Roosevelt Praying for you and the rule of law in our country, Daddy... #pray4dsnr @najib_razak
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Daddy, before I slept, I sent you this picture of me and Adam wishing you all the best for your MACC appointment at 3pm (Malaysian time). You didn’t read or reply my message and then at 5am, Ashman called to say that they have arrested and detained you, again. It pains me that I am on the other side of the world and not there with you..but you always insisted that giving up Harvard was always out of the question, no matter how difficult the circumstances. So as I sit in bed at 6am here in Boston, unable to go back back to sleep, thinking about your safety and how Mummy, Ashman and everyone else is coping back home, I came across a quote that I sent to you over the weekend (you got to read this one) and it’s already making me feel a little better... "It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat" Theodore Roosevelt Praying for you and the rule of law in our country, Daddy... #pray4dsnr @najib_razak

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