Former Malaysian Prime Minister, Najib Razak, has been found guilty on all charges in his trial regarding the 1MDB corruption scandal and could face decades in prison.
The 1 Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), set up by Najib’s government in 2009 to boost economic development in the country, allegedly redirected $4.5 billion into private pockets during Najib’s years in office between 2009 and 2018. These funds were allegedly spent on luxury real estate, a private jet, Van Gogh and Monet artworks – and even a Hollywood blockbuster, the Wolf of Wall Street, according to BBC News.
On Tuesday, Najib was found guilty on all seven charges of corruption laid against him in the first of several multi-million dollar corruption trials. The trials are a test of Malaysia’s anti-corruption efforts and are unveiling a global web of fraud and corruption. The verdict of Najib’s trial means that he could be facing decades in prison, but he is almost certainly going to exhaust his appeals in order to remain out of prison.
The verdict was centred around $10 million in funds that were transferred into the former Prime Minster’s accounts from the fund. He denies any wrongdoing and said he was misled by his financial advisors, including fugitive financier Jho Low, who has been charged in Malaysia as well as the US, but also maintains his innocence.
Najib claims that he thought the funds were donations from the Saudi Royal family. Each charge laid against him is worth 15-20 years in prison.
However, the 1MDB corruption scandal in Malaysia extends far beyond Najib and involves many parties from outside of Malaysia, including bankers from US multinational investment bank,
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