Charges against Najib in line with rule of law, says Hishammuddin

Malaysia's former prime minister Najib Razak arrives for a court appearance at the Duta court complex in Kuala Lumpur

Malaysia's former prime minister Najib Razak arrives for a court appearance at the Duta court complex in Kuala Lumpur Credit AFP

Dressed in a grey suit, Najib appeared calm as three charges of money laundering were read out at the Kuala Lumpur high court.

Two months after the election defeat, he was pleaded not guilty to abuse of power.

Malaysia's embattled former prime minister Najib Razak will be charged today under a money-laundering act, the anti-graft agency said, in connection with a multi-billion-dollar scandal at state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).

Najib, 65, has been consistent in saying he is not guilty of any of the charges brought against him.

The charges were related to accusations that 42 million ringgit (about US $10.3 million) was illegally diverted into Najib's personal bank accounts from SRC International, an energy company that used to be a subsidiary of the state fund 1MDB.

The offences under Section 4 (1)(b) of Anti-Money Laundering Act, Anti-Terrorism Financing Act and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act (Amla) 2001 carries a punishment of up to 15 years' prison and a fine of up to five times the monetary amount involved.

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The multiple charges filed against him in July were also connected to SRC International.

Najib and his allies are accused of plundering billions of dollars from 1MDB to buy everything from U.S. real estate to artworks.

Mr Najib and his wife Rosmah Mansor led a life of luxury, allegedly funded by stolen public money, that came to symbolise the rot in an elite that had ruled the country uninterrupted since Malaysia's independence from Britain in 1957.

All the charges relate to fund transfers from SRC International, an energy company that was originally a subsidiary of 1MDB.

The US Department of Justice estimates the money diverted from 1MDB to be $4.5 billion, of which about $1 billion may have been laundered in the US through the purchase of real estate, yachts, jewellery and works of art, among others.

Najib told reporters he had no knowledge that Equanimity was purchased using 1MDB funds.

Tan Sri Irwan was removed from his post and that of 1MDB chairman after Najib was ousted.

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