KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia – A Malaysian appeals court on Wednesday, December 8, upheld former premier Najib Razak’s guilty verdict in a case linked to a corruption scandal at state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).
Najib was sentenced to 12 years in prison and fined $50 million last year by a high court after being found guilty of criminal breach of trust, abuse of power and money laundering for illegally receiving about $10 million from SRC International, a former unit of now-defunct 1MDB.
He had pleaded not guilty and consistently denied any wrongdoing.
Judge Abdul Karim Abdul Jalil said he agreed with the high court judge on the conviction and sentencing over all seven charges against Najib.
“We dismiss the appeal on all seven charges and affirm the conviction on all seven charges,” the judge said.
Najib has been free on bail pending the appeal.
His lawyer Shafee Abdullah told the court the former premier would appeal the verdict at the Federal Court, Malaysia’s top tribunal.
The judge allowed Najib’s request for a stay on the sentence and Najib will be released on bail.
Wearing a black suit, Najib showed no emotion as the judgment was read out and was seen taking notes occasionally during the hearing.
Najib and his lawyers joined the proceedings via Zoom after a member of his legal team tested positive for COVID-19.
The former prime minister remains influential within his party, the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO), which returned to power in August after being voted out three years earlier amid widespread corruption allegations.
Najib told Reuters in September he has not ruled out seeking re-election to parliament, a move that would require his conviction to be overturned.
US and Malaysian authorities say $4.5 billion was believed to have been stolen from 1MDB, and that more than $1 billion made its way into Najib’s personal accounts. – Rappler.com