Najib may face charges of money laundering, misappropriation of property – source

 

FILE PHOTO: Malaysia’s former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak arrives to give a statement to the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) in Putrajaya, Malaysia May 24, 2018. REUTERS/Lai Seng Sin/File Photo

 

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian authorities investigating scandal-hit state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) are considering charging former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak with money laundering and misappropriation of property, a source familiar with the matter said.

Najib, who founded 1MDB in 2009, is the subject of a money laundering and corruption probe, after reports that millions of dollars made their way into his personal bank accounts from the fund and its former subsidiary, SRC International. The former premier has consistently denied any wrongdoing in relation to 1MDB.

Najib, 64, suffered a shock loss in the May 9 general election, the first change of government since Malaysia gained independence from Britain in 1957. Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, who was elected prime minister, has vowed to bring back funds allegedly siphoned from 1MDB and punish those responsible.

Malaysia’s new Attorney General Tommy Thomas said on Tuesday his office was studying possible criminal and civil action, after receiving investigation papers on 1MDB from the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC).

A source close to the investigations told Reuters Najib may be charged with dishonest misappropriation of property under the Malaysian Penal Code. The source declined to be identified as they were not authorized to speak on the matter.

The offense carries a maximum jail sentence of five years, a fine and whipping. The law, however, forbids men over the age of 50 years from being whipped.

Any fine would be decided by the court depending on the offense and amount misappropriated.

According to the source, Najib may also face money laundering charges, which would carry a maximum sentence of 15 years’ jail and a fine of no less than five times the value of the laundered proceeds.

It is now up to the attorney-general to decide whether or not to accept the recommendations, file different charges or call for further investigations. The previous attorney general cleared Najib of wrongdoing in relation to 1MDB.

MACC and the attorney-general’s office did not respond to requests for comment. – Reuters

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