Former Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak was found guilty on Tuesday (July 28th) of all counts in his first trial for the massive 1MDB corruption scandal.
“After examining all the evidence in this trial, I consider that the prosecution has supported its case successfully”, said Mohamad Nazlan Mohamad Ghazali, a judge at the High Court of Kuala Lumpur.
Najib Razak, who faces several years in prison, and his relatives are accused of plundering the sovereign wealth fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), supposed to contribute to the economic development of Malaysia, in a fraud of billions of dollars with global ramifications.
Part of the embezzled funds would thus have been used to finance the film The wolf of Wall Street with Leonardo DiCaprio, while Goldman Sachs bank was splashed by the affair.
Crowd of supporters dressed in red
Malaysians’ anger at the looting played a big role in the surprise electoral defeat in 2018 of the coalition led by Najib Razak, who has led the government since 2009.
The verdict, however, is a test of the strength of the rule of law in Malaysia, as Najib Razak’s party regained power in March after the fall of a reformist coalition. Some fear that the alternation will affect the outcome of this trial.
A large crowd of Najib supporters awaited him on Tuesday morning when he arrived in court, many dressed in red, the color of his party, UMNO (Unified National Organization of Malaysia).
In a Facebook post, the ex-prime minister, who has always denied any wrongdoing in the affair, said on Monday evening that the two years since his ouster from power had been years of darkness and that he was ready for The verdict. “I want justice. I want to restore my reputation “he said, adding that he would appeal if the decision was unfavorable.
The 67-year-old ex-executive is at the center of three separate lawsuits linked to the 1MDB fund. The first lawsuit, which began 16 months ago, involved the transfer of 42 million ringgit ($ 9.9 million) from SRC International, a fund entity, to the official’s bank accounts. Najib Razak was on trial for abuse of power, breach of trust and money laundering.