Former Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak on Tuesday was found guilty of all seven charges in the first of several corruption trials linked to one of the world’s biggest financial scandals.
Mr Najib faces 42 charges in five separate trials related to the billion-dollar scandal at the 1Malaysia Development Berhad state investment fund.
The British-educated Mr Najib, who took office in 2009, is alleged to have illegally received nearly $10 million in his personal bank accounts from SRC International – a unit under the government-run strategic development company 1MDB.
Mr Najib, 67, had testified that he acted in the best interests of the country and consulted the cabinet and 1MDB executives at every step of the way, while his lawyers argued that he had been misled by others, including fugitive financier Low Taek Jho.
The verdict comes after Malaysia agreed a $3.9 billion (Dh14.32bn) settlement with Goldman Sachs over the bank’s role in raising funds for 1MDB during Mr Najib’s time as prime minister.
The scandal was one of the reasons why Mr Najib, who earlier pleaded not guilty, was defeated in Malaysia’s 2018 general election.
According to US investigators at least $4.5 billion was stolen from the fund, which he set up soon after taking office – ostensibly to accelerate the country’s economic development.