KUALA LUMPUR – Malaysia’s top court ordered former prime minister Najib Razak to begin a 12-year prison sentence on Tuesday after upholding a guilty conviction on charges related to a multi-billion dollar graft scandal at state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).
The Federal Court ruling caps the stunning downfall of Najib, who until four years ago governed Malaysia with an iron grip and suppressed local investigations of the 1MDB scandal that has implicated financial institutions and high-ranking officials worldwide.
Prosecutors have said some $4.5 billion was stolen from 1MDB — co-founded by Najib during his first year as prime minister in 2009. Investigators say they had traced more than $1 billion of 1MDB money to accounts linked to Najib.
Najib, wearing a dark suit and tie, sat in the dock as the verdict was read out. His wife, Rosmah Mansor, and three children were seated behind him.
Security officials then gathered around the bespectacled former premier and he was later seen leaving court in a black car with police escort.
A court official and sources close to Najib said he was taken to Kajang Prison, about 40 kilometers away from Kuala Lumpur.
“This is unprecedented. Najib will be remembered for his many firsts, the first prime minister to lose a general election, the first to be convicted,” said Adib Zalkapli, director at political risk consultancy BowerGroupAsia. Read more »