Home Today's Paper Most Popular Video Gallery Photo Gallery
Subscription Blog Signin Register
Logo
Friday, August 14, 2020 08:15:20 AM
Follow Us On: Facebook Twitter Twitter Twitter Twitter

Malaysia faces crucial graft test as Najib's first 1MDB verdict looms

photo by

By
27th-Jul-2020       
Share
  • Twitter
  • Google+
  • Save
  • E-mail
  • Print
Comments
Share your thought
Post a comment »
Read all () »

Reuters, Kuala Lumpur :
Malaysian former prime minister Najib Razak, fighting dozens of charges over a multi-billion-dollar graft scandal at state fund 1MDB, faces his first verdict on Tuesday in a landmark case that tests the country's efforts to stamp out corruption and could have big political implications.
Najib was voted out in a historic 2018 election amid public anger over allegations that $4.5 billion was stolen in a globe-spanning scheme from 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), a fund he co-founded. Prosecutors allege more than $1 billion made its way into his personal accounts. His party returned to power this year in an alliance led by Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin, prompting some to question how whether the return would affect several corruption cases against Najib and his allies.
For Najib, the verdict in the years-long saga, which has seen a spectacular fall from extreme opulence and a dominant position in Malaysian politics, marks a reckoning for the urbane, British-educated politician - potentially decades in jail or a partial vindication.
It also comes just four days after the announcement of a $3.9 billion settlement with Goldman Sachs (GS.N) in return for Malaysia dropping criminal charges against the investment bank over its role in helping 1MDB sell $6.5 billion in bonds.
Najib will first hear the verdict on seven charges he faces over receiving 42 million ringgit ($9.9 million) from former 1MDB unit SRC International in 2014. He has pleaded not guilty to criminal breach of trust, money laundering and abuse of power.
Najib testified that he was misled by Malaysian financier Jho Low and other 1MDB officials into believing the funds were donated by the Saudi royal family and not misappropriated from SRC, as prosecutors charge. Saudi Arabia's foreign minister said in 2016 that the funds were "a genuine donation," but the government has not commented on the case since.
"We believe we have adduced more than enough evidence to cast reasonable doubt on the prosecution's case," defence lawyer Harvinderjit Singh told Reuters.
If convicted, Najib could face hefty fines and jail terms of as much as 15 to 20 years on each charge.
It is unclear if he would be sentenced immediately if found guilty. Singh said sentencing could be delayed or suspended due to the complex nature of the case.
The verdict and Friday's settlement, seen as a boost to Muhyiddin's fledgling four-month old administration, come amid speculation the prime minister may call elections soon. Muhyiddin has a slim majority in parliament, and the opposition is gearing up for polls.
Liew Chin Tong, an opposition politician, said a guilty verdict for Najib could boost Muhyiddin's popularity. But it could also create tensions within the ruling coalition - Najib's party is the biggest component - and increase calls for a snap election, he said.
Najib no longer leads the party but remains highly influential.
He declined to comment on the upcoming verdict but appeared relaxed on Thursday, celebrating his 67th birthday by sharing a cake with supporters at the Kuala Lumpur courthouse where he has become a regular presence the past two years.
Low, who faces charges in Malaysia and United States over his central role in the case, also denies wrongdoing. The offices of the prime minister and the attorney-general did not respond to requests for comment.
Muhyiddin this month said he would work to implement broad anti-corruption reforms, amid concerns raised by activists over the fate of several high-profile graft trials.
Prosecutors last month withdrew charges against Najib ally Musa Aman, shortly after settling a $248 million 1MDB-related case involving the ex-premier's stepson Riza Aziz.
"If you continuously have high-profile cases being dropped, people can't believe that," said Transparency International Malaysia director Muhammad Mohan. "The real victory will come only when there are convictions."

The global watchdog expects Malaysia's ranking on its corruption perception index to fall this year.
The verdict also comes as Najib enjoys a resurgence in popularity after embarking on an extensive public makeover, adopting a more personable tone to replace his image as a wealthy elite.
He maintains an active social-media presence, hitting out at the opposition and posting light-hearted updates on Facebook, where he has over 4 million followers, more than any other Malaysian politician.

Tariff
Add Rate

News Archive

Inside The New Nation

Editorial »

Cash incentive programme fails to reap benefits for ultra-poor


THE Parliamentary Standing Committee on Disaster Management and Relief Ministry expressed concern over the government's cash incentive programme for the rural extreme poor on Wednesday. Following the ninth meeting of the committee on Wednesday, the Chairman of the Standing Committee stated that the poor people were not benefited by the ...

City »

Outgoing Indian High Commissioner to Bangladesh Riva Ganguli Das calls on State Minister for Shipping Khalid Mahmud Chowdhury at his office of the Ministry on Thursday.


.

International »

Lebanese MPs meet for first time since blast, US envoy due in Beirut


Reuters :Lebanese security forces deployed heavily in Beirut on Thursday, stopping protesters from reaching a conference centre where MPs began meeting for the first time since the catastrophic chemicals explosion last week that killed 172 people.Senior US official David Hale is expected in Beirut later on Thursday to stress the ...

Editorial »

Stealing money in chaos is easy but investment needs competent government


MEDIA report in a national daily on Wednesday said Bangladesh Bank's special fund for capital market investment is facing setback because of lukewarm response from banks which were to make the fund available from their money for funding the ailing bourse. The five year special fund of Tk 100 billion ...

City »

Bangladesh United Communist League forms a human chain in front of the Jatiya Press Club on Wednesday to realize its various demands including trial of corrupt people of the Health Sector.


.

Football »

Shakhtar, Sevilla advance into UEFA Europa League semifinal


Agency :Shakhtar Donetsk crushed hapless FC Basel 4-1 following a one-sided affair while Sevilla's Lucas Ocampos left it late to eliminate Wolverhampton Wanderers 1-0 in the UEFA Europa League quarterfinal on Tuesday.Donetsk needed no warmup time and broke the deadlock with just two minutes played as Marlos's corner kick allowed ...

Business & Economy »

Trump candidate for Inter-America bank accuses Argentina of 'obstruction'


AFP, Washington :US President Donald Trump's candidate to head the Inter-American Development Bank said Tuesday he has the backing of the majority of Latin American countries but accused Argentina of trying to "obstruct" his election, with the help of Mexico, Chile and Costa Rica.Mauricio Claver-Carone told a news conference that ...

Editorial »

Mere warning will not do if the corrupt ones remain unabated


MEDIA report said that the government has taken a move to rein in the soaring cost of development projects and the Planning Minister is going to hold a meeting with Secretaries of the Development Ministries and Planning Commission officials to find out ways how to plug corruption and misuse of ...

City »

Devotees of the Hindu community offer prayers on the occasion of Janmashtami. The snap was taken from the city's Swamibag Mandir on Tuesday.


International »

China accused of seeking to turn Taiwan into `the next Hong Kong`


Al Jazeera News :Taiwan faces an increasingly difficult position as China pressures the democratic island to accept conditions that would turn it into the next Hong Kong, its top diplomat told visiting US Health Secretary Alex Azar on Tuesday.Azar arrived in Taiwan on Sunday as the highest-level US official to ...

International »

Turkey says it will license new Mediterranean areas this month


Reuters, Nkara : Turkey will issue seismic exploration and drilling licenses in new areas of the eastern Mediterranean by the end of August and continue its operations in the region, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Tuesday, amid tensions with Greece.NATO allies Turkey and Greece are at odds over overlapping claims ...

Business & Economy »

India-Bangladesh ties, connectivity create new trade opportunities: Riva


Indian High Commissioner here Riva Ganguly Das on Tuesday said excellent India-Bangladesh bilateral relations and recent connectivity initiatives in railways and inland waterways created new business opportunities as these reduced trade cost between the two neighbouring countries."With resilient economies and robust business environment, both the countries will not only be ...

Business & Economy »

Emirates launches special portal for trade partners


Business Desk :Emirates has rolled out a brand new, state-of-the-art online gateway to serve its travel trade partners around the world.Tailored for each market, and personalised for each partner to cater to their unique business environment and needs, the Emirates Partners Portal is a one-stop shop for travel industry partners ...

Football »

Dortmund flexing their muscles, Sancho must stay


Borussia Dortmund are flexing their muscles in their efforts to keep England forward Jadon Sancho at the club.In the club's pre-season training-camp in Bad Ragaz, Switzerland, the 2012 German Champions sporting director Michael Zorc announced the surprising news."We plan on having Jadon Sancho in our team this season," Zorc commented. ...

Football »

Ronaldinho set for August 24 release


AFP, Asuncion :Brazil great Ronaldinho could be freed on August 24 following five months detention in Paraguay over a forged passport, judicial sources told AFP on Monday.The former Barcelona, AC Milan and Paris Saint-Germain star was detained alongside his brother Roberto de Assis Moreira on March 6, accused of entering ...

 
Items that you save may be read at any time on your computer, iPad, iPhone or Android devices.
 
Are you new to our website? Do you have already an account at our website?
Create An Account Log in here
Email this news to a friend or like someone
Email:
Write a comment to this news