Malaysia to formally charge former Prime Minister Najib Razak with corruption

Malaysia to formally charge former Prime Minister Najib Razak with corruption
2 min read
19 September, 2018
Malaysia's former prime minister will be formally charged with allegedly looting millions in state funds.
Najib was recently toppled following a shock election loss [Getty]

Malaysia's former Prime Minister Najib Razak will be formally charged with corruption, after allegedly looting $628 million in state funds, officials said on Wednesday.

Authorities have accused Najib of channeling millions from the state investment fund 1MDB into his personal bank accounts, with the former premier arrested on Wednesday.

The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission said in a statement that Najib was arrested as it investigated "the entry of 2.6 billion ringgit ($628 million) into his personal account". 

He will appear in court Thursday afternoon, facing several charges related to abuse of power, the anti-corruption commission said.

Najib and his aides are accused of amassing huge sums from the wealth fund, which saw the long-serving prime minister toppled, in the shock defeat of his coalition in elections in May.

A reformist alliance is now in office, headed by Mahathir Mohamad who came out of retirement to take on Najib.

He has reopened probes into 1MDB that were shut down by the former government, and vowed to bring his former ally to justice.

Najib has already been arrested and hit with seven charges related to claims he pocketed some $10 million from a former unit of 1MDB.

His arrest on Wednesday was more serioes, and related to allegations in a long-running scandal that he helped himseld to huge sums before a hotly contested election in 2013.

James Chin, a Malaysia expert from the University of Tasmania, said Najib's current charges were "much more significant" than previous ones.

"I think the Malaysian people will be very, very happy. There were complaints that the government was not moving fast enough on 1MDB," he told AFP.