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WORLD NEWS | Jailed ex-Malaysian PM Najib acquitted in latest 1MDB trial


KUALA LUMPUR, March 3 (AP) — Former Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak was acquitted Friday in his latest trial in response to the looting of billions of dollars from the 1Malaysia Development Berhad state fund.

Najib is serving a 12-year prison sentence after losing the first final appeal in several corruption trials related to the 1MDB scandal, acquitted of tampering with audit reports to conceal wrongdoing.

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Defense lawyer Mohammad Shafee Abdullah said the high court ruled that prosecutors did not have enough evidence to prove that Najib had abused his positions as prime minister and finance minister to order changes in the 1MDB audit report in 2016 before it was submitted to parliament.

“My client is very grateful for Allah’s decision today as it really lifted his spirit and desire to fight for his innocence,” Shafee told a news conference on Friday.

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The 1MDB Development Fund was established a few months after Najib became prime minister in 2009. Investigators say more than $4.5 billion was stolen from the fund by associates of Najib and laundered through layers of bank accounts in the U.S. and other countries to finance Hollywood movies and lavish purchases including hotels, luxury yachts, art goods and jewelry. More than $700 million flowed into Najib’s bank accounts.

He and his wife, Rosmah Mansor, faced multiple corruption charges after the incident led to a crushing defeat for his ruling coalition in the 2018 general election. Rosmah, who was sentenced to 10 years in prison and a record 970 million ringgit ($217 million) fine in 2022 for corruption at a solar project, is on bail pending an appeal.

Shafee said financier Low Taek Jho – believed to be the mastermind of the scandal – remained at large.

Former 1MDB chief executive Arul Kanda Kandasamy, who was co-accused of abetting Najib and appeared as a prosecution witness during the trial, was also acquitted by the court on Friday.

Shafee insisted the charges against Najib were politically motivated. He added that Najib was seeking a review of the Supreme Court decision in August to dismiss his final appeal and hoped for a favorable outcome later this month. (Associated Press)

(This is an unedited and auto-generated story from a Syndicated News feed, the content body may not have been modified or edited by LatestLY staff)


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